Translated from the Latin, florilegium literally means "collection of flowers," and the 178 elegant and vibrant illustrations in the recently restored "The Green Florilegium" are perfect for a flower-enthusiast like myself. The delicate and detailed illustrations, which were recently restored to their original colors from a mid-17th century collection of gouache paintings by Hans Simon Holtzbecker, are essentially portraits of different flower species. They come to life in bold hues and life-like detail throughout the volume. It's the perfect coffee-table book -- leaving it open to any page is like having a permanent bouquet of flowers in your space.
According to Hanne Kolind Poulsen, who wrote the introduction to the newly restored edition, very little is known about Hans Simon Holtzbecker's life, education, and influences. While he was a well-known and well-respected flower painter and garden enthusiast from Hamburg, Germany, there is almost no trace left of his personal or professional life. What we do know is that his passion for his subjects comes through clearly in the restored paintings, which are not only lifelike and carefully studied, but are beautiful to look at. Check out some images from the book below.