Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel

Art Forms in Nature von Olaf Breidbach

Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel by Ernst Haeckel, Olaf Breidbach, Richard Hartmann, Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt

Synopsis: The geometric shapes and natural forms, captured with exceptional precision in Ernst Haeckel’s prints, still influence artists and designers to this day. This volume highlights the research and findings of this natural scientist. Powerful modern microscopes have confirmed the accuracy of Haeckel’s prints, which even in their day, became world famous. Haeckel’s portfolio, first published between 1899 and 1904 in separate installments, is described in the opening essays. The plates illustrate Haeckel’s fundamental monistic notion of the “unity of all living things” and the wide variety of forms are executed with utmost delicacy. Incipient microscopic organisms are juxtaposed with highly developed plants and animals. The pages, ordered according to geometric and “constructive” aspects, document the oness of the world in its most diversified forms. This collection of plates was not only well-received by scientists, but by artists and architects as well. Rene Binet, a pioneer of glass and iron constructions, Emile Galle, a renowned Art Nouveau designer, and the photographer Karl Blossfeld all make explicit reference to Haeckel in their work.

First Published: 1904 | ISBN-13: 978-3791319902

Art Forms In Nature (known in German as Kunstformen der Natur) is a book of lithographic and halftone prints by German biologist Ernst Haeckel. – Wikipedia

Mini-bio: Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, 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. – Wikipedia

From the delicately intricate architecture of micro-organisms such as diatoms and algae, to the graceful variations of hummingbird species, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) visually explored the diversity of life on Earth through his stylistic and painstakingly detailed illustrations.  These artworks opened people’s eyes to the complexity of life forms rarely seen by his contemporaries. Even in today’s world of high resolution photography and digital archiving, these illustrations remain wondrous.  While it would be ideal to have more information about the images themselves, Art Forms in Nature is a mesmerising collection of science and art history. – from 10 Great Books on Scientific Illustration

Scientific American Book Review

[Image Credit: http://www.randomhouse.de/content/edition/covervoila_hires/HaeckelArt_Forms_in_Nature_92331.jpg ]

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