Pierre-Joseph Redouté

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Pierre-Joseph Redouté (July 10, 1759 in Saint-Hubert, Luxembourg – June 19, 1840 in Paris), was a Belgian painter and botanist, known for his watercolours of roses, lilies and other flowers at Malmaison. He was nicknamed "The Raphael of flowers".

He was an official court artist of Queen Marie Antoinette, and he continued painting through the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. Redouté survived the turbulent political upheaval to gain international recognition for his precise renderings of plants, which remain as fresh in the early 21st century as when first painted.

Paris was the cultural and scientific centre of Europe during an outstanding period in botanical illustration (1798 – 1837), one noted for the publication of several folio books with coloured plates. Enthusiastically, Redouté became an heir to the tradition of the Flemish and Dutch flower painters Brueghel, Ruysch, van Huysum and de Heem. Redouté contributed over 2,100 published plates depicting over 1,800 different species, many never rendered before.


Early life

Redouté was born in Saint-Hubert, Luxembourg; the town is now in Belgium.

Although he was relatively lacking in formal education, both Redouté's father and grandfather were painters. He left home at the age of 13 to earn his living as an itinerant Belgian painter, doing interior decoration, portraits and religious commissions.


In 1782 Redouté joined his elder brother, Antoine Ferdinand, an interior decorator and scenery designer in Paris. There he met the botanist and book lover Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle, and René Desfontaines, who steered him towards botanical illustration, a rapidly growing discipline.

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