Hortus amoenissimus... di Franciscus de Geest
- Publisher / Year
- Aboca Museum – Sansepolcro, 2011
Varia 291 - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma (Rome, Italy)
Splendid daffodils, lush peonies, elegant carnations, and tulips, which were coveted above all others in the 17th century, are the main characters of this exceptional botanical book: the gorgeous Hortus amoenissimus by Franciscus de Geest, a Dutch baroque artist. In the year 1668, de Geest recorded the world of plants both exotic and common in 201 marvelously vivid, simultaneously botanically correct, and elaborately colored depictions. A gem of 17th century botanical enthusiasm!
The tulip was undoubtedly the queen of flowers in the 17th c. Netherlands. Coming originally from Turkey, they were well-known in Europe since the 16th century. The tulip developed into a trend in Holland above all, which unleashed a real boom for bulbous plants. The plants became a sumptuous status symbol and a regular object of speculation.
Franciscus de Geest devoted special attention to this tulip in his book Hortus Amoenissimus Omnigenis Floribus, Plantis, Stirpibus, etc. etc. etc.. In addition to the varieties of tulips, numerous other types of plants and flowers were included, both native as well as exotic.
The author of this gem, Franciscus de Geest (1638-1699), was a Dutch baroque painter, famous above all for his portraits and still lives. He came from a family of painters in Leeuwarden, his father was the painter Wybrand de Geest, who could boast ties of kinship with the great Rembrandt. Franciscus de Geest probably learned the art of painting flowers in Antwerp.
The famous florilegium by Franciscus de Geest, the renowned Hortus amoenissimus is stored under the shelf mark Varia 291 in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma. Originating from Dutch Leeuwarden, the book contains 201 depictions of flowers as they would have been cultivated in botanical gardens of that time. The drawings are wonderfully colored with luminous watercolors, the depictions of the plants are depicted in a manner that is both vivid and botanically correct. The work presumably originated at the behest of Prince Willem Frederik von Nassau, Stadtholder of Friesland, who had a famous garden installed in Leeuwarden.