Monday, April 21, 2008


Maya city of Uxmal - grotesque mask (1838)

Maya city of Uxmal - grotesque mask (1838) a

Reed College in Oregon recently posted a wonderful exhibition site called: 'Architecture, Restoration, and Imaging of the Maya Cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná', which includes a raft of vintage book images as well as comparative modern photographs relating to Yucatan in Mexico. The grotesque mask figures above are details from Frédéric de Waldeck's 'Voyage Pittoresque et Archéologique dans la Province d’Yucatan (Amérique Centrale), Pendant Les Années 1834 et 1836', published in 1838 (courtesy of University of Cincinnati Library).

'Labrus Bergylta' by Peder Ascanius -1767 - Icones rerum naturalium

'Trachinus Draco' by Peder Ascanius - 1767 - Icones rerum naturalium

'Gadus Ferrugineus' by Peder Ascanius - 1767 - Icones rerum naturalium

'Den Hvide Feröiske Ravn. Vorvus variegatus Faeröensis' by Peder Ascanius - 1767 - Icones rerum naturalium

Peder Ascanius was a Norwegian zoologist and mineralogist as well as being a student and correspondent of Carl Linneaus. I *think* the natural history series relating to Scandinavia he released was made up of five volumes, although only the first book appears to be online. 'Icones rerum naturalium, eller teigninger til natural-historiens oplysning og forbædring; förste hæfte' was first published in 1767. Volume One (includes ten exquisite hand coloured plates) is available from the Center for Retrospective Digitization in Göttingen (GDZ). [The images above have been extensively spot cleaned] {via the fantastic Animal Base at Göttingen}

Yogic Six-Chakra Transformation (1850)

Diagrams of Newar Yogic Six-Chakra Transformation
Watercolour on paper (c. 1850) from the Bhaktapur National Museum, Nepal.
"A standing yogic practitioner is depicted with each of his six chakras marked by a geometric symbol representing that particular chakra. Earth is the yellow square, water is the skull cup in the abdomen, fire is the red triangle, air is the double triangle, space is the blue lotus, and full attainment is the small white spiral in the red triangle resting on the thousand petaled lotus of attainment. Various meditations utilize these elements in a variety of ways with envisioned drops moving up and down channels connecting the chakras."
From the exhibition site: 'The Circle of Bliss - Buddhist Meditational Art' at the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio State University.

Albertus Seba - Squid

The famous squid engraving from Albertus Seba's 'Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' (1734-1767) (in colour from Taschen). The illustration above was spliced from screencaps from a current Sothebys natural history catalogue - requires registration.

Baron Von Nicolas Henri Jacob - Storia Naturale Delle Scimie 1812

This baboon illustration (also spliced from screencaps from the same Sothebys catalogue as above) comes from Baron Von Nicolas Henri Jacob's 'Storia Naturale Delle Scimie' (Natural History of Apes), 1812. Jacob acknowledged that his book "was based on the work of Buffon, Cuvier, Geoffroy, Daubenton, Lacepede, Latreille and Audebert, but follows its own attractive method of presentation."*

Allegory of the Five Obstinate Monsters (c. 1575 - 1618) - Anon.

Allegory of the Five Obstinate Monsters (anonymous)

Aeron of Monster Brains found this wonderful illustration at the Rijksmuseum (search on 'monsters'). It is dated between 1575-1618. Is this - as my nearly non-existent latin wildly imagines - depicting or warning about a psychiatric disturbance (..contraria menteis..)??

The New Goose Game (c.1900)

'The New Goose Game' (c.1900)

The Celebrated Gargantua (c. 1840)

'The Celebrated Gargantua' (c. 1840)

The Miraculous Distillery for Ridding Husbands of Their Bad Habits (1839)

'The Miraculous Distillery for Ridding Husbands of Their Bad Habits' (1839)

Philadelphia Art Museum kindly passed on large versions of the above illustrations relating to their upcoming exhibition: 'Curious and Commonplace: European Popular Prints of the 1800s' (May 31-August 24, 2008) Click on the Press link at the top of the page for some more small example prints. [thanks Sara!]

Alchemy (series by Suzanne Treister)

From the interesting Alchemy series © Suzanne Treister, modelled after Böhme, Kircher, Flood and probably other yesteryear esotericists. Treister has an extensive portfolio of artistic work in a variety of media. [via thingsmag and elsewhere]

Geißlung Procession by Andreae Conrad (1608)

Title page from 'Geißlung Procession' by Andreae Conrad (1608) from HAB (no other illustrations). I thought it was a picture of a beer, hotdog and whipping session. I found it in the theology section.

Diorama4 by Oscar Sanmartin Vargas

Diorama 4 © Oscar Sanmartin Vargas
Gollus finds all the best things at Recogedor. It's definitely worth adding the site to your feed or blog rounds. In this case I'm sorry to say that the website of the artist expired two days ago. Oscar Sanmartin Vargas from Zaragoza in Spain produces some wonderfully dark and surreal drawings (although they might be etchings), as well as paintings and dioramas.

Of his work Sanmartin says: "I am interested in provoking a sense of unease".

Fortunately there is other material scattered around the web and these links below are surely incomplete...

Cudowne bajki by Adolf Dygasinski - 1925

Cudowne bajki by Adolf Dygasinski - 1925 a

'Cudowne Bajki' by Adolf Dygasinski.
A beautifully designed and printed book from 1925, available at the Polish Digital Library (note the 6-dotted thumbnail icon top left)

Plan de Paris by Louis Bretez + Claude Lucas 1739 sequence 4

Plan de Paris by Louis Bretez + Claude Lucas 1739 sequence 4 (detail)

Mayor Michel-Etienne Turgot (Prevot des Marchands de Paris) commissioned Louis Bretez to prepare a map of Paris in 1734. Five years later, twenty engraved sheets (by Claude Lucas) were delivered that measured eight by ten feet when assembled. This is a superb map with incredible detail and the bird's eye view style seems all the more remarkable for having been produced some fifty years prior to the first balloon flight.
Known as the Turgot Map, it is possible to see it at very high resolution at Harvard University. Alternatively, a lower resolution (but easier?) version can be seen at Kyoto University.

Illustrated Sydney News, 23 December 1882 (from 'Christmas in the Colonies' 1981)
Thanks to Lisa for passing on this scan from the 'Illustrated Sydney News' from 23 December 1882. It appears in the 1981 book, 'Christmas in the Colonies' by Maisy Stapleton and Patricia Mc Donald. I would love to get a great quality image of the original illustration. I'm sure I've seen the work before ... somewhere.

Floral typography titlepage 1834

The beauties of flora - Eliza Eve Gleadall  (1834) a

'The Beauties of Flora : with botanic and poetic illustrations, being a selection of flowers drawn from nature arranged emblematically : with directions for colouring them', 1834 by Eliza Eve Gleadall is on display at Wisconsin University Library (note the 'gallery view' in the sidebar). [some background]

Salamander anatomy

From: 'De Salamandrae Terrestris Vita, Evolutione, Formatione Tractatus' (1827) by Adolph Friedrich Funk from Harvard University at the Internet Archive (there were one or two other salamander dissection images from memory).

--Follow my personal bookmarks, for all the biblioartlibraryscienceillustratexhibtion goodness that grabs my attention.
--Or follow the BibliOdyssey bookmarks for tagged and summarised listings of all the (840+) posts that appear on this site - this is updated at about the same time as the post appears on the site.


Gollus said...

Muchas gracias por "Recogerme" en tu blog, nombrándome en esta entrada. Me alegro que te gusten los trabajos de este artista, tanto como para enlazarlos. Es una pena que su web no funcione, aunque yo creo que para los trabajos que desarrolla, debería tener un mayor espacio en la red y mayor difusión.

Saludos desde "Recogedor" ;)

Chiastych said...


More like "blitzkrieg"!

Astonishment in every pane.

Supplanted visions everywhere.

Arg. life.


Unknown said...

you two should meet :
cheers and thanks

Karla said...

Surely I must have met the Five Obstinate Monsters in a dream sometime... or was it on the street?

The Christmas item from Illustrated Sydney News is absolutely spectacular. I had no idea you celebrated Christmas like that down there. Makes our Northern Hemisphere festivities look a bit trite, if you know what I mean.

kAb said...

The "Five Obstinate Monsters" picture seems like it should actually be something about the Seven Deadly Sins--the two-faced beast (the Catholic Church) crushing peace, innocence, and justice is a popular trope of early modern Protestantism. That drawing reminds me of some of the nuns that taught at my Catholic high school.

Anyways, love the blog--I'm always interested to see what finds its way up here. Keep up the righteous work!

Michael said...

Paul, Sotheby's might be annoying, (especially after their "large version" of pictures of auction lots shrank from 800 to 500px maximum) but Christies new interface is the work of the Zoomify devil itself. Aaargh!

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