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Intellectual History Commons

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Gettysburg College

Maria Sibylla Merian

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Intellectual History

Botanical Illustrations, Emily N. Roush Oct 2017

Botanical Illustrations, Emily N. Roush

Wonders of Nature and Artifice

Botanical illustrations were an integral facet of botany in the Renaissance era. Many naturalists and physicians studied plants in collections to observe and record the naturalia. In many collections, specimens were displayed for visitors to draw and then create illustrations or prints. With an illustration, detail in plants could be captured and visually understood instead of learning through text. The great feature of illustrations was the fact that the specimens could be exotic yet still studied. Kusukawa says, “Pictures enabled scholars to access unobtainable objects, build knowledge of rare objects over time, and study them long after the live specimens ...


Crocodiles - The Singular Beast In The Renaissance Cabinet, Peter Zhang Oct 2017

Crocodiles - The Singular Beast In The Renaissance Cabinet, Peter Zhang

Wonders of Nature and Artifice

Stuffed crocodiles often predominated many famous cabinets, hanging in the center of the ceiling. Crocodilians are the largest reptiles and the largest predator that spends time on land. They have existed for about 240 million years, and today there are 23 species of crocodilians in total, categorized in three families: 13 species of crocodiles, two species of alligators, and six species of caimans. Archaeologists found a “Supercroc” fossil as long as 40 feet (12 meters) and weighting 17,500 pounds in Niger. They believe that the crocodile lived alongside dinosaurs about 100 million years ago. [excerpt]


Butterflies And Rebirth, Meredith E. Brown Oct 2017

Butterflies And Rebirth, Meredith E. Brown

Wonders of Nature and Artifice

During the Renaissance, collectors saw Morpho butterflies as beautiful, elegant, and rare creatures. Their exotic origin and sophistication made these fascinating creatures the subjects of scientific observation, decoration, and symbolism. Butterflies of the Morpho genus include a wide variety of marvelous, striking, and beautiful species. Home to South and Central America, Morpho butterflies thrive in the rainforests of Nicaragua, Colombia, and Venezuela. When Renaissance Europeans began exploring American rainforests, they were quickly captivated by these butterflies. Morphos feature vivid blue coloration and iridescence on the dorsal side of their wings as well as a yellow-brown coloration on the other side ...