Artistic Endeavors – Art Forms of Nature

When I came across Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur plates published in 1904 I felt such an affinity for all the curves.

According to Wikipedia, Haeckel

was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and Protista.

Besides all that, he dabbled in philosophy, penning a work called “The Riddle of the Universe.” Only in that time period could such disciplines have co-existed in one person. But wait, there’s more. He was also an artist, producing 100 detailed sketches of animals and sea creatures that were translated from sketch to print by lithographer Adolf Giltsch and published in Kunstformen der Natur. The images influenced several artists associated with the Art Nouveau movement.

Haeckel is yet another distinguished person I’ve never heard of before, but he has been memorialized in place names. “In the United States, Mount Haeckel, a 13,418 ft (4,090 m) summit in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, overlooking the Evolution Basin, is named in his honour, as is another Mount Haeckel, a 2,941 m (9,649 ft) summit in New Zealand; and the asteroid 12323 Haeckel.” (Wikipedia)

Here are a few of his drawings that are a bit spikier. To me they resemble drawings of science fiction universes done by someone on hallucinogens.





Filed under Commentary, Inspiration

10 responses to “Artistic Endeavors – Art Forms of Nature

  1. Thanks for sharing, the drawings are amazing, must have a closer view on Haeckel.

  2. These are beautiful. I love the bony black and white drawings at the bottom of your page. I think there are geniuses of this type today, too, — a lot of scientists are also artists or musicians, for instance — but there is SO MUCH content available, I think sidelines get crowded out.

    • Yes, the sheer volume of talented work being produced is mind boggling. The drawings intrigue me especially because they were done long before computers, and most likely involved direct observation.

  3. How could one person be so expert at so much? Do you think we could do that, if we spent less time on the computer??

  4. Aren’t they amazing drawings.

  5. WOW!!! Thank you for the introduction to this amazing, beyond amazing person. His art is so intricate and “out of this world”. I completely agree with you about the science fiction resemblance. A wonderful wake read this morning.

  6. Mind blowing! I can really see how some of his art/work would have influenced the Art Nouveau movement. The wiki article is very interesting. He had quite a life… I wonder if his mind was ever still! Thanks for sharing.

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