Jacques Le Moyne De Morgues (c. 1533-1588) and the Origins of Seventeenth-Century Netherlandish Flower Still Lifes
Wheelock, Arthur K.
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This dissertation examines the contribution of the French artist Jacques le Moyne de Morgues to the development of seventeenth–century Netherlandish flower still lifes, a heretofore understudied subject. Le Moyne has mostly been discussed as a cartographer and as the official artist for the French expedition to Florida from 1564 to 1565, and his impact on the origin of seventeenth–century Netherlandish flower still lifes has been largely overlooked because he was from abroad and active in England. Le Moyne was a botanical artist who gained his early training in the French manuscript tradition and continued to develop his career as flower painter in a world fascinated with collecting rare and exotic plants. Le Moyne's experiences of collecting and recording plants during the Florida exploration encouraged him to portray botanical specimens as living plants after his return to France. Soon after, his accurately and delicately illustrated floral images were known to seventeenth–century Netherlandish flower artists, including the printmaker Crispijn de Passe the Elder and the painter Jacques de Gheyn. At the core of this study is the conclusion that the collaboration between botanists, artists and publishers was a crucial component in the development of independent flower paintings. Botanists and publishers were at the center of a network of flower collectors, gardeners and artists, focusing on collecting and exchanging rare and exotic plants as well as illustrations of them. In particular, the renowned botanist Carolus Clusius and the publisher Hans Woutneel were important links between Le Moyne and seventeenth–century Netherlandish flower artists, involving a young generation of flower painters with projects that incorporated floral illustrations. In circulating botanical illustrations, Clusius and Woutneel supplied precisely colored drawings by Le Moyne to early Netherlandish flower artists, including Jacques de Gheyn and Crispijn de Passe the Elder, encouraging them to expand on Le Moyne's approach in their own floral images. Clusius engaged Jacques de Gheyn to illustrate flowers and small creatures in an album containing twenty–two watercolors (1600–1604, Paris: Institut Néerlandais), and Woutneel encouraged De Passe to base many of the images in his<italic>Cognosite Lilia</italic> on Le Moyne's delicately rendered watercolors.