In a world before photography, many botanists were also artists, recreating their research subjects in painstaking detail through sketches and engravings. These historical works of botanical art are highlighted, with more modern pieces of flora-inspired visuals as well, in Phaidon’s new book, Plant: Exploring the Botanical World. The hefty coffee table book features 300 remarkable pieces of plant-related art.
It includes everything from ancient stone carvings—the first recognizable images of plants can be traced to the Fertile Crescent 5000 years ago—to medieval manuscripts to modern art photographs and microscope images, with work by familiar names like Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, and Frida Kahlo. All the images in the book were selected by an international panel of art and botany experts, and are arranged throughout the book in such a way to juxtapose and compare works from across time and geography.
It’s $45 on Amazon, but you can get a sneak peek at some of the eye-catching art below.