Stop. Haeckel time!
November 1, 2017 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Haeckel's legacy as a biologist includes the phrases "ecology" and "stem cell", but he is most known for his amazing illustrations. His radiolaria images are iconic. Wait, you say, haven't we seen him on here before? You have indeed, but not since 2009, so you might not yet know that his book Kunstformen der Natur is now also available as a coloring book, or that this gallery of Haeckel images is curated by the editor of an entirely new book with 450 drawings and paintings by Haeckel. This sudden abundance of Haeckel art is possibly a build-up to the 100th anniversary of his death in 2019. Either way, after 8 years it was about time for some more Haeckel on here.
posted by easternblot (6 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for sharing! That coloring book is going into a few stockings this year.
posted by matrixclown at 8:20 AM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, I love me some Haeckel. I find this style of illustration so calming and orderly and yet so fantastically ridiculous. I think of them as aspirational in their fussiness but wearing blinders--like worldbuilding that pays lots and lots of attention to the niceties of teapot design of different nations without any thought to the brute/economic realities of harvesting and shipping tea. As hinted in a recent Ask, the world is usually not so well limned when you look at it through a microscope.

The fact that they're already drawn and reproduced* makes them naturals for tattoos--they're full of flourishes but for the most part use only a few colors on a plain background. (Thought about getting a rotifer myself but never did.) I always smile when I see a Haeckel tattoo in the wild--and it happens often. (Just poked around online and learned that Haeckel merits a whole section in Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed, a book I didn't know but am now going to check out.)

*not an asterisk; probably just a radiolarian smushed on your screen, check your magnification size
posted by miles per flower at 8:22 AM on November 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

The world is usually not so well limned when you look at it through a microscope

Yes! And this is why scientific illustrators still exist.

And Science Ink is a great book. I recommend it about once a month to people. I don’t even have a tattoo myself but find it so fascinating that so many people love science images so much that they want them on their body AND that there are enough to fill a book.
posted by easternblot at 5:31 PM on November 1, 2017

Here's a very pretty documentary that IIRC doesn't talk at all about how Haeckel's evolutionary racism helped give rise and form to Nazi ideology.
posted by wreckingball at 6:21 PM on November 1, 2017

Radiolarians I
posted by stinkfoot at 6:52 PM on November 1, 2017

I've got Haeckel prints from a beautiful 2015 calendar all over my lab. They're jus tnice.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 11:25 AM on November 3, 2017

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