Haeckel & Harper

harperbirds haeckel

Inseparable Impulses: The Science and Aesthetics of Ernst Haeckel and Charley Harper

Megan K. Halpern, Hannah Star Rogers

Leonardo
Volume 46, Number 5, 2013
pp. 465-470

https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/leonardo/v046/46.5.halpern.pdf

This article examines the role of aesthetics in scientific argument by analyzing two images. The first, from Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature (1904), depicts 15 bats evenly spaced on a white field. The second, Charley Harper’s Darwin’s Finches (1961), shows 13 finches, similarly displayed. Although these two images may at first appear to have little in common, they both present a specific interpretation of Darwin’s theories using visual language. This article argues that the act of representation and scientific theory are inextricably intertwined.

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