The sketch is notable as it combines a number of the areas for which Da Vinci is revered by 21st Century art critics.
The sketch is believed to have been completed around 1500. At the turn of the century, Da Vinci would have been around 38 years old, and about to enter one of the most productive periods of his life.
By this time, he had also completed a number of the technical drawings and sketches for which he is now so well known amongst the general public.
The sketch naturally focuses focuses on nature, which is a subject that had been little considered prior to the renaissance. Da Vinci's Landscape Drawing for Santa Maria Della Neve, which he had completed around 10 years previously, is the first known landscape not to feature any people or activities.
It would be a further 200 years before a landscape oil painting not featuring people would be completed. Drawing of a Botanical Study takes a similar approach by also eschewing people.
However, it is somewhat different in that it is as much a technical drawing as a pure piece of art. Anyone familiar with Da Vinci's plans for statues or his other architectural or technical drawings will immediately see the similarities they share with this study.
As in many of Da Vinci's other sketches, the role of perspective is extremely important here. The thickness and intensity of the line fades towards the back of the drawing and at the periphery. As is so often the case, Da Vinci is able to use relatively simple techniques to put the viewer right in the centre of the scene.
The level of detail in the sketch is also notable. In most cases, this would mark the piece out as a simple technical drawing rather than an attempt at art.
Da Vinci however, was known for crossing these boundaries and this is one of many of his works that refuses to sit comfortably in one category or another. The technical aspects of the drawing are well executed but because the artist is Da Vinci, the work is also entrancing and can be appreciated on a purely aesthetic level.
Da Vinci sketched a number of botanical studies over the course of his life and many of them share a relatively similar format. Most are devoid of the notes, calculations and general scribblings that make some of his other works so interesting.
Even though Drawing of a Botanical Study lacks some of the personal touches that we can enjoy in other Da Vinci works, it remains a stunning example of renaissance drawing and reminds us how far Da Vinci pushed even the simples forms of art during his lifetime.