Vol. 21 No. 2 (2023): Terrae incognitae
I paesaggi bioculturali tra arte e scienza

Erwin Lichtenegger. The Art of roots

Published 2024-05-27


  • Root system,
  • Plant morphology,
  • Art,
  • Plant drawings

How to Cite

Sobotik, M. (2024). Erwin Lichtenegger. The Art of roots. Ri-Vista. Research for Landscape Architecture, 21(2), 26–37. Retrieved from https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ri-vista/article/view/15773


Over a period of approximately 50 years, scholars (Lore Kutschera, Erwin Lichtenegger, Monika Sabotik) from the research center of the Pflanzensoziologisches Institut in Klagenfurt have carried out excavation campaigns to study the roots of plants. The excavations, even deep ones, were aimed at understanding the morphology, shapes and adaptation capabilities that plants have developed through their roots in relation to climate conditions, temperatures and soil structure and the proximity of other species. The research gave rise to seven volumes with illustrations of the roots drawn up by Erwin Lichtenegger. The drawings, drawn by hand in pencil, represent, following measurements, the complexity of the root system according to a hypothetical section which however portrays the three-dimensional assembly of the part of the plant kept underground, making the invisible visible. The representations offered a specific scientific contribution in relation to the behavior of plants, but also the interpretation of reality through artistic drawing.