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Art Forms in Nature: Prints of Ernst Haeckel

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Gorgeous prints, as virtually everyone agrees, but the first of the two introductory essays really fell flat. I'd never heard of Ernst Haeckel until I read about Rorschach's inkblot tests (that is the great beauty of reading: books beget books). In 1861, at the instance of Carl Gegenbaur, he became Privatdozent at Jena; in the succeeding year he was chosen extraordinary professor of comparative anatomy and director of the Zoological Institute in the same university; in 1865 he was appointed to a chair of zoology which was specially established for his benefit. Alas, Eibl-Eibesfeldt goes on to develop his wonderful essay w/ this: "Is it not possible that the aesthetic sensibilities of people who have grown up in what many would find ugly, artificial environments of the industrial fringes of modern metropolises, have also been altered as a result of such new environments? The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures (see: Kunstformen der Natur, "Art Forms of Nature").

I got the Prestel edition, and it has a nice mix of full-color and black and white plates (illustrations). 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. Inspiration for the nature-lover, artist, or those like me who like to simply gaze in wonder at the infinite diversity and beauty, of lifeforms.

The Canvas and the Camera in Weimar Germany: A New Objectivity in Painting and Photography of the 1920s. El libro tiene 100 ilustraciones de diferentes especies, cada una del tamaño de una hoja entera, En la parte inferior vienen numeradas y con el nombre de la especie que varían entre plantas, animales de mar, aves, algas, etc. Drawings are lumped into classes on single pages, so you'll get for example: one page of various starfishes, but without identification of each one. He was, indeed, the first German biologist to give a whole-hearted adherence to the doctrine of organic evolution and to treat it as the cardinal conception of modern biology. The "necessity," which Kant ascribed to a particular characteristic of these a priori judgements were these phenomena and conditions fully known.

Haeckel’s literary output was enormous, and at the time of the celebration of his sixtieth birthday at Jena in 1894 he had produced 42 works with 13,000 pages, besides numerous scientific memoirs. Haeckel's incredible energy, his drive for a thorough worldview, his meticulousness, is BEYOND IMPRESSIVE. Every living cell has psychic properties, and the psychic life of multicellular organisms is the sum-total of the psychic functions of the cells of which they are composed.P/S: Probably not as important, but I would have liked individual lithographs to have been labelled.

This volume is comprised of 100 illustrated plates featuring stunning watercolour paintings and pencil sketches. This was really great, but most importantly it will last -- for archiving, referencing, modifications, not just a book that'll sit on the shelf once perused -- all made easy with access to these lithographs.Darwin himself has placed on record the conviction that Haeckel’s enthusiastic propagandism of the doctrine was the chief factor of its success in Germany. As a consequence of these views Haeckel was led to deny the immortality of the soul, the freedom of the will, and the existence of a personal God.

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