Juan Ricardo Rey Márquez – Ephemeral Models Enduring Depictions, Mutis and the Pursuit of the Ultimate Botanic Depiction Style
In this project, we will study the method of botanical art devices by Jose Celestino Mutis, director of the Botanic Expedition to New Granada. Mutis proposed to the Spanish Crown to conduct a revised edition of the work of Francisco Hernandez (ca. 1514-1578), who made the first botanic expedition to Hispanic America during the last quarter of the 16th century. Mutis committed to king Charles III to continue the work initiated by Hernandez and to update it with new images “following the taste of our century”. As Mutis favoured Iconismo, a current on Natural History that used visual representations as devices to research natural phenomena, he committed to studying drawing methods and the history of botanical representation. For that purpose, Mutis formed a specialized library – with books from the 16th to 18th centuries – on natural history and conducted the development of several depiction styles for plants. With that interest in mind, José Celestino Mutis wanted to create a timeless style to depict the American flora. This process is the main subject of our inquiries.
Juan Ricardo Rey-Márquez is a Colombian researcher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 2008, where he works as a researcher on the Centro de Investigación en Arte, Materia y Cultura MATERIA, at the Universidad Nacional De Tres De Febrero (UNTREF). Juan Ricardo studies the bond between art and science in the case of the Spanish scientific expeditions to America during the late 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. His focus of interest is the use of art to render scientific knowledge or the construction of a visual epistemology in the Botanical Expedition of Nueva Granada (1783-1816). Juan Ricardo is currently researching scientific libraries in Hispanic America and the graphic ways employed to convey botanic data during the late colonial period (1785-1840).