Nectarines - Body

About this Object

Two red and yellow nectarines on a branch

In this drawing, two deep red nectarines hang from a branch. Look closely at the fruits’ texture. Notice the thick skin of the nectarines; the splotches of yellow, green, and orange; and the deep groove in the middle. Drawn by Georg Dionysius Ehret, Europe’s leading botanical artist in 1750, Nectarines is actually an unfinished drawing. Ehret used watercolor to color the nectarines, but he left the leaves uncolored.

Ehret was a botanical artist who took great interest and care in accurately depicting botanical specimens. The details he included would help individuals identify key parts of a fruit or plant. In this drawing, he labeled the color of the nectarines as “Roman red.” View other drawings by Ehret in The Huntington’s collection, including aloes and lilies:

Helpful Terms

Drawing – It is a term used to describe a two-dimensional artwork in which a tool is used to make an image on a surface, such as a sheet of paper. These lines can be made with a pencil or pen, or non-linear or tonal marks made with other implements, such as brushes.

Watercolor – (brush) There are two types of watercolors: Transparent Watercolor and Opaque Watercolor. Transparent Watercolor is a water- soluble paint; known for its transparent properties, it is incredibly versatile in its ability to create a variety of effects by being layered and pooled. Opaque Watercolor is a watercolor with a “body” (white filler) added to it to make it rich and dark; it is not transparent and creates a look like oil paint. View a watercolor set in The Huntington’s collection from circa 1781:

Graphite – (pencil) A type of carbon; graphite pencils allow artists to make hard or soft marks, thick or think or thin lines, and offer a range of values from light to dark.

More to Explore...

Pick a plant, herb, fruit, or vegetable you find interesting and create a close-up botanical drawing with a pencil and paper. Think about the composition of your botanical specimen. Will you include the natural environment like Ehret did, or will you arrange your specimen in a bowl or on a table? Use your pencil to create shading and texture.

Level Up

Make another version of your botanical drawing, but use a different medium! You could use a pen, pastels, watercolors, or even chalk.

Question Corner

  • Did you try different mediums to make your botanical drawings? If so, did you find one easier to use? Was one better for highlighting details? Which one did you prefer?
  • Do you think Ehret’s illustration of nectarines looks like an accurate representation? Why or why not?