Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel

by Haeckel, Ernst

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Every biology student knows Ernst Haeckel as the originator of the "Biogenetic Law": ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
Haeckel was a passionate student of the evolutionary shaping of biological forms, and Art Forms in Nature captures both
his artistic sensibility and the scientific rigor he applied to all his studies. First published in 1904, Art Forms in
Nature is a glorification of function and form, a demonstration of organic symmetry that has nothing--and everything--to
do with nature as it actually exists. Each plate exhibits organisms carefully arranged and exquisitely detailed, "a
symbiosis between decorative sketches and descriptive observations of nature," as Olaf Breidbach states in his
fascinating introductory text. The radiolarians, medusae, rotifers, bryozoans, and even frogs and turtles lovingly
recreated here are gorgeous and self-explanatory, rendered in delicate, filigreed lines, and colored gently with muted
green, delicate pink, and sepia. Art students will appreciate the designs found in nature--scientists will love the
evolutionary statement of form inherent in the beauty. --Therese Littleton


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