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By: W John Kress and Shirley Sherwood
320 pages, 200 illus
Art meets science in this book that aims to give readers a sense of some contemporary scientific discoveries that are changing our understanding of plant relationships. 136 botanical paintings from the Shirley Sherwood Collection, by 84 artists, cover 50 orders of plants in 118 families, and a total of 133 species, providing a sweeping overview of the evolution of plants on earth.
The paintings display a sampling of the plant world from fungi to daisies, including algae, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants arranged in the most up to date evolutionary sequence, determined by recent DNA analysis. The text places each artist's observations as displayed in the paintings, in the context of modern plant classification, providing readers with a new understanding of the complex interrelationships between plant species, and enhancing their appreciation of the botanical artist's ability to portray the delicate beauty of nature.
This is a most interesting approach to botanical art, one transcending the 'pretty picture' stereotype. One can learn a lot about plants from Kress & Sherwood's exemplary presentation of 'art meets science.' Kudos!
- Rudolf Schmid, University of California
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