Corn Poppy
Morgues, Jacques
1580
Grapevine
Morgues, Jacques
1580
Pomegranate
Morgues, Jacques
1580
Wild Sage and Butterfly
Morgues, Jacques
1580

Natural history flourished during the Age of Exploration. Artists accompanying foreign voyages sought to capture as much of the flora and fauna as possible. Explorers often brought various specimen back to Europe, where wealthy patrons commissioned detailed depictions. Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, a painter who accompanied a French expedition to Florida in 1564, specialized in painting flowers. Though much of Le Moyne’s American work was destroyed, his legacy as a botanical painter survives through the pieces he created in Europe. As a successful florilegium painter, Le Moyne created several depictions of the flora and fauna found within the gardens of his wealthy patrons. With subjects including flowers, insects, and fruits, Le Moyne’s work visually catalogued dozens of European species in minute detail.

As the era progressed, curiosity for knowledge of the natural world increased. By the eighteenth century natural historians led voyages across the globe, cataloguing hundreds of species while an artist or team of specialists sketched and engraved images of each. Ornithologist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon hired artist François Nicolas Martinet to capture dozens of avian species for his naturalist anthology, Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux. Rendered with dynamic compositions featuring birds in their natural habitats, Martinet’s precise depictions illustrated newly discovered species with scientific accuracy.

Le Balbuzard
Martinet, François Nicolas
1770
La Bernache
Martinet, François Nicolas
1770
Cassique, de la Lousiane
Martinet, François Nicolas
1770
Merle cendre, d'Amerique 2. Merle a cravate, de Cayenne
Martinet, François Nicolas
1770