by Deb Shaw
Damselfly, Carnation, Firebug, Caterpillar, Carnelian Cherry, and Centipede; Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 – 1600), and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575); Vienna, Austria; 1561 – 1562; illumination added 1591 – 1596; Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 16.6 x 12.4 cm (6 9/16 x 4 7/8 in.); Ms. 20, fol. 68. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
The Getty has a treasure in its collections, prized by botanical artists all over the world: the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta by Georg Bocskay and Joris Hoefnagel. Commissioned in 1560 by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, Georg Bocskay, court scribe, displayed his astonishing calligraphy skills in this small book. Thirty years after he completed the volume, Joris Hoefnagel, the court illuminator to Ferdinand’s successor, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, painted incredible portraits of flowers, insects, snails, seeds, frogs, snakes and more in the spaces on each page.
ASBA member Denise Walser-Kolar was inspired by Hoefnagel’s work after seeing the modern reproduction, Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II in a bookstore. She is working on a 25-painting series, Hoefnagel-Inspired. To see more of her work, visit the article in the Getty Iris, the online magazine by the Getty. To order your own copy of Nature Illuminated, visit the Getty Store.
Hoefnagel-Inspired #4 2014, Denise Walser-Kolar. Watercolor and gouache on calfskin vellum, 4 x 6 in. Courtesy of and © Denise Walser-Kolar.