Details: Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) Apricots Vellum size: 9 1/4″ x 8; Framed size: 18 1/2″ x 16 3/4″ Pierre-Joseph Redouté is unquestionably the best-known botanical illustrator of any era. His work seems to demand the invention of lofty praise. A critic, writing of the 1804 Salon exhibition, noted that Redouté’s “six paintings of flowers executed in watercolor for H. M. the empress . are realistic and beautifully painted, . perfectly imitating nature.” He concluded, “The delicacy, exactitude, and elegance of the brushwork gives them great merit.” Vivant Denon, Director of Museums under the Empire, stated that Redouté’s gouaches were “masterpieces,” and the artist was similarly described both as the “Rembrandt” and the “Raphael” of flowers by nineteenth-century writers. It is thus unsurprising that Redouté occupies a central position in the development of European floral art, contributing to both the artistry and scientific advancement of botanical study.