Who was Pierre Joseph Redouté?

Who was Pierre Joseph Redouté?

Pierre-Joseph Redouté was born in 1759 in an area near northern France.

Inspired by some of the greatest religious painters who ever lived, such as Michaelangelo and Raphael, young Redoute embarked on a career in religious art by painting various churches throughout Northern Europe. 

Blessed with the lineage of accomplished artists, he grew up developing exceptional artistic talent. Redouté is unquestionably the best-known botanical illustrator of any era and the reputation is due, in no small part, to the exceptional quality of his illustrations in ‘Les Roses’.

Stipple engravings

The most accomplished engravers of the period were engaged to translate his original paintings into stipple engravings, in which the plates are etched with small dots rather than lines. 

Indeed, Redouté helped refine the stipple engraving process to best capture the subtle effects, luminosity, sheen and dimensionality of his original paintings. 

Through a method he invented in 1796, the colors were applied to the engraved plate “à la poupée” before each printing, “giving to our prints all the softness and brilliance of a watercolor,” as Redouté noted. 

Finally, each print was finished with additional coloring by hand. Redouté’s high standards are evident in the striking way in which the resulting prints capture the subtle delicacy of flower petals and foliage.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s ‘Les Roses’ are perhaps his most celebrated images, which the artist issued while under the patronage of the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon.