What is the difference between botanical art and flower painting?
In general, flower painting is a term that can be used to describe any painting consisting predominantly of flowers. These can be anything from still life to botanical studies, or impressionistic garden scenes. It is usually more concerned with the beauty of flowers and capturing the colour and emotion of the subject. The medium can be varied - oil, watercolour, pastel, acrylic etc. It is also, by definition, concerned only with flowers and not other botanical subjects.
In contrast, botanical art has botanical accuracy as its foundation. That is not to say that botanical artists are not concerned with beauty, colour and form (far from it), but the overriding consideration is that the artist captures the essence of the plant and does this by faithfully recording the plant. Botanical art also implies that the subject could be anything in the entire field of botany - fruit, flowers, mosses, lichens, fungi etc. Often microscopic details are depicted at a magnified scale. The usual medium for botanical art is watercolour or pen and ink. In the past, etchings and engravings were common. Botanical art traces its history back to ancient herbals where plants were drawn so that they could be recognised and used in medicinal treatments.
Here at BotanicalArtistry.com we love all botanical art and flower painting. In this post-modern world that we live in, some of these distinctions have become fairly meaningless.
For more information have a look at the BBC page on painting flowers.