Art of Nature

Three centuries of natural history art from around the world

Judith Magee

Featuring works by many of the greatest natural history artists, Art of Nature is an astonishing visual record of the exploration of parts of the natural world that had never previously been documented.

ISBN:
978 0 565 09244 3
Format:
Hardback
Price:
£25.00
Published:
October 2009
Size:
253 x 216 mm
Extent:
256 pp
Illustrations:
Colour throughout
Publisher:
Natural History Museum

Details

Art of Nature is an astonishing visual record of the exploration of parts of the natural world that had never previously been documented. It features many of the greatest natural history artists of the last 300 years – Merian, Bartram, Ehret, the Bauer brothers, Audubon and Gould. Some were seeking fame as scientists or artists, others sought financial gain or at least the prospect of earning a living in what they loved doing. For some it also provided them with the opportunity to present their view of nature to a wider community.

Whatever the reasons, few would have contradicted Humboldt’s comment that he was ‘spurred on by an uncertain longing for what is distant and unknown, for whatever excited my fantasy: danger at sea, the desire for adventures, to be transported from a boring daily life to a marvellous world’.

Continent by continent Judith Magee draws on the unrivalled collections of the Library of the Natural History Museum to illustrate the development of natural history art through the centuries and its crucial role in furthering people’s appreciation of nature all around the world.

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Author

Judith Magee has managed the art collections of the Library of the Natural History Museum, London for over 10 years. She is the author of The Art and Science of William Bartram and has contributed to several other books including Plant Discoveries: A Botanist’s Voyage Through Plant Exploration and The Great Naturalists.

Reviews

Find out what others think of this book.

"The handsome Art of Nature reproduces three centuries of some of the Natural History Museum’s finest prints from around the world."

The Daily Mail

"A lovely volume that celebrates the greatest wildlife artists of the last 300 years, drawing on the fabulous collection held by the Museum. John Bartram, John James Aududon, Franz and Ferdinand Bauer: this book is a gorgeous lesson in the powers oh human observation."

The Times

"Coffee tables have never looked so good…A visual celebration of European natural history illustrations."

New Scientist

"Relive the wonder of the first expeditions through the curious creatures and plants portrayed in meticulous details by some of the greatest natural history artists."

The Bookseller

"Writing with authority and verve about three centuries of natural history art from around the world, Magee puts illustrative and scientific innovations into context…Art of Nature elicits wonder for nature’s beauties and the artists’ skill and spirit."

Hampstead and Highgate Express

"This wonderful book brings the work of these artists to our attention…a very readable and interesting text…the many pictures chosen are beautifully produced and the publisher whets our appetite to see more."

Yorkshire Gazette and Herald

"Magee brings a most welcome perspective to her subject: the visual description of plants and animals for the purpose of scientific study. It is at once a history of the medium and an account of the great age of exploration in the late 17th to 19th centuries, when Europeans set sail to all corners of the globe for the purposes of trade and scientific discovery. Through the Age of Enlightenment, the artists who took part in these missions documented the natural world around them, producing a body of work that was both aesthetically significant and scientifically useful. As Magee explores the subject continent by continent, the sumptuous illustrations give the reader a wonderful sense of the range of work of these artists/explorers. Written in a straightforward style, this highly informative book delves not only into the historical evolution of the genre and its artists but emerges as a thoughtful consideration of the social context out of which it developed."

Publishers Weekly

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