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Re: Re: VMs: Viola tricolor

Hello William,  

======= At 2004-05-24, 17:52:00 you wrote: =======

>The image on f9v is hopelessly wrong for a pansy.
>The leaf shapes are wrong, the nodal stalkless leaflets are not shown, 
>the flower stems should not have any leaves at all, the sequential 
>arrangement of flower stems off the main stem is not shown, the flowers 
>are incorrect (upside down but also distorted), the emergence of 
>multiple stems from the base is not shown.
Well, it is not a pansy, we all agree - but was it supposed to be a pansy?  If not, all comparison is 
 simply meaningless. Again, it seems that we are confusing his painting skill with bad observation
 - painting antitalent is expressed differently, he certainly would not put leaves on stems if he
 did not see them there :-). Unless he did not see them - or did not see the plant at all.
 Drawing so many plants, he surely knew that he has to be rather accurate. It's the differences which
 counts, otherwise the pictures would look all alike, say  the leaves would be  on all stems - and they
 definitely do not. What you are saying is  that he was also a bad botanist, because what you mention
 are the main distinguishing signs, the main points for recognition. If he could not draw what he
 saw accurately, he would never find those plants himself  :-). 

>Like so much about the MS it encourages interpretation; but knowledge 
>of plants suggests that the interpretable images are way off the mark 
>in terms of realism. 
Agreed.  If it  is a realism  - for instance we cannot possibly call Picasso unskilled  painter,
 just because he was a cubist. Since we call that part of the VM a herbal, we are pre-conditioned to
 expect exactly that. But maybe it is only supposed to look like herbal? Then our call for reality
 is missing the point.

 >And, as I pointed out on this list before, wrong 
>identification could be life threatening - so why would anyone 
>purposefully produce poor drawings?  

You cannot poison somebody by the plant which does not exist :-).  And as for confusion: even the
 best pictures in  herbals can confuse somebody who is not a skilled botanist. Let's  make your 
 question more general: why would he produce poor drawings at all? If he was a botanist, he should
 have already known from his experience that his pictures were hopeless, so why bother to draw them
 at all? If he wasn't  a botanist  - how would he collect those plants first place, especially if
 his observation was so bad? On  the  other hand, there are  two good reasons to make such bad
 pictures purposefully: either there is some hidden information in them OR it was a fraud to start
 with. Then the quality or accuracy of the pictures is  superfluous.  That is my point.
>I still suspect it is the case that the drawings are bad because the 
>artist was incompetent and did not care about veracity because it did 
>not matter.  Plausibility was all that mattered - and that we seem to 
>have in spades (hence the wild/wide/multifarious interpretations we all 
>put on it).

Let's call a spade a spade: for herbal,   the  pictures were hopeless, meaningless. But for a fraud,
 they were  plausible enough and their quality or accuracy did not matter at all. Neither it
 mattered if they were used only for the purpose of steganography or something similar.

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