Haeckel & Harper

harperbirds haeckel

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

Megan K. Halpern, Hannah Star Rogers

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

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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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