Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Haeckel's Zoo

It's hard to say whether Prussian born Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) will be better remembered for his brilliant zoological illustrations or as an unscientific showboat who cultivated fame by riding on the coat tails of Charles Darwin.

He proposed a plethora of theories involving evolution, phylogeny and comparative anatomy (he was a physician by trade) and terms he coined such as phylum and ecology survive today.

When Darwin released On The Origin of the Species, Haeckel espoused in great detail a fantastic theory that evidence of human evolution would be found in Java. Amazingly, a student of his later discovered Java man.

His most famous works are Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature) 1899-1904 and Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda Radiara) 1862 - from which the illustrations here were selected.


The Crafty-Girl™ said...

Haeckel's work is utterly amazing...detail, colors, form, shape...so incredibly inspiring!!! thanks for these links...now i'm dying to go design!!!

asleep said...

Many thanks for your posts on Haeckel.

Stimulated by these breathtaking illustrations, I searched for more. Among other marvels, here's what I've found:
"Ernst Haeckel’s Alleged Anti-Semitism and Contributions to Nazi Biology", "From Darwin to Hitler?", "Who was Ernst Haeckel? Phenomenon? Flawed? Faker?"...
Such a shame, that Haeckel could be considered in link with Nazi ideology. Lacking knowledge on these 'alleged' matters, I can't say much. Makes me think of Daniel Barenboim, somehow:

Back to radiolaria and Haeckel:
Buckminster Fuller, who must have been inspired by Haeckel's illustrations, wrote that "subvisible microscopic animal structures called radiolaria are developed by the same mathematical and structural laws as those governing the man-designed geodesic and other non-man-designed spheroidal structures in nature".
More on that subject:

Messy 'comment' -bigmouth strikes again.

peacay said...

Messy is fine. But embedded pdfs are not so fun. Oh well. Thanks: interesting stuff.
(well, the nazis coopted just about everything else of worth in the world. I don't think their interest has any great bearing either way in judging someone's art or character.)

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