Four exhibitions are on view until the end of this weekend featuring the work of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, engravings by Flemish publisher Theodor de Bry, and works by local artists and students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts who use Le Moyne’s botanical watercolors as inspiration. I took the opportunity to see all four exhibitions while at The Cummer during the first official Photo Garden Bee Tour last month and was “Amazed!” As some of you already know I am big fan or art and a painter myself. While standing a few inches away from these fantastic works I was truly inspired. To think of the wild conditions they painstakingly painted under in the mid 1500s made them even more amazing.
In 1564 the Frenchman Jacques Le Moyne boarded a ship and took the long difficult journey to a new land full of spectacular new flora and fauna. That new land was America and these drawings are the earliest look at our naturally growing botanicals. Le Moyne, “the pre-eminent botanical artists of his time” explains Cummer Curator Holly Keris, “was the official cartographer and artist of the French expedition to establish a Huguenot colony at Fort Caroline in 1564. After the settlement failed, Le Moyne became a botanical artist, painting flowers and leaves with butterflies and other insects, and fruits and nuts Botanical Watercolors by Jacques Le Moyne, features 61 watercolor and gouache botanical paintings by Le Moyne, on loan from the Arader Gallery in New York.”
Keris adds, “It is incredible to think that Le Moyne, the first European artist to set foot in the new world, spent a year in what would become Jacksonville, on the banks of our St. Johns River, documenting the native people of our area and chronicling an important chapter in our area’s history.”
“It is incredible to think” Keris continues, “that Le Moyne, the first European artist to set foot in the new world, spent a year in what would become Jacksonville, on the banks of our St. Johns River, documenting the native people of our area and chronicling an important chapter in our area’s history.”
During his time in Florida, it was Le Moyne’s job to document not only the flora and fauna but also the local indian tribe, the Timucua. Unfortunately the Spanish arrived and attacked fort Caroline in which they were living. Le Moyne could not get to his drawings documenting the tribe and as The Cummer details, “Le Moyne and a handful of ohers were forced to return to France.” where the artist, “would recreate these scenes at the end of his life. A Flemish publisher, Theordor de Bry, and his two sons used Le Moyne’s watercolors as inspiration for the illustrations in their picture book, A Brief History of Those Things which Befell the French in Florida, which they published in 1591.”
It is these pages that are also on exhibit here at The Cummer and their detail and stories cover everything about the Timucua including the ever fascinating culture and the grotesque methods by which they fought and killed. It was a lesson in cultural history that bowled me over. The illustrations are full of details that garner a lenghty visit.
Lastly I took a look at the work of Susan Davenport, a botanical painter who is also on view in the exhibition, Artist Response: Botanical. According to The Cummer, this exhibition, “explores the relationship between Le Moyne’s works and contemporary art. Jacksonville artists…” I love her work. Using colors in light as a vehicle for lumiosity is always lovely. I’ve never seen it used like this and it’s powerful.
There is also one other exhibit : “New View: Botanicals. The exhibition features work by students from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts who used their newly xeriscaped garden to create drawings inspired by the tradition of Le Moyne’s botanical watercolors. The New View program is a partnership with the Visual Arts department at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. This partnership, which began in 2005, allows students to study in-depth one work of art at The Cummer and reinterpret it through a variety of media.” The Cummer illertates.
If you anywhere near Jacksonville, Florida stop by The Cummer. The exhibits ends this weekend on the 10th! For more information visit http://www.cummer.org/art_gardens/exhibitions/exhibitions.cfm And don’t forget to see their gardens!
This Bee started a bit late today but is moving on straight to tomorrow’s post! In the mean time If you know of any great Garden or Art Buzz related to florals, feel free to write me! And there is always my “Suggest a Garden” page. I would love to hear from more you about your favorite gardens and interests.
Britt : )