The glass flowers of Leopold Blaschka
June 25, 2007 5:20 PM   Subscribe

The glass flowers of Leopold Blaschka were created to provide enduring botanical teaching models. During his lifetime 4,000 models were created; a selection of 17 specimens are currently on display at the Corning Museum of Glass. MeFi has previously been treated to the splendor of the Blaschka marine invertebrates.
posted by donovan (12 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The Harvard installation is worth seeing if you have some spare time in Cambridge- they are sort of dull, so you can't spend too much time there, but the technical virtuosity involved is really impressive and worth seeing once.
posted by louie at 5:26 PM on June 25, 2007

I saw these at the H-school during one of their un-famous periods. They were then somewhat dusty and a fair number were broken--not smashed or shattered, but with a missing petal here, a partial stamen or pistil there. (The museum person I spoke to said many were so delicate that they were regularly damaged just by the vibrations of heavy trucks passing in the street.) Even in that condition they were something to see. It's good to hear they're going to get some restoration.
posted by jfuller at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2007

The Harvard installation is worth seeing...

From the first (NPR) link:
"So Harvard has partnered with the Corning Museum of Glass to restore the models. This summer, 17 specimens, ranging from an orchid and a bunch of bluets to panic grass and a sprig of blue sage, have been plucked from Harvard and sent to Corning.

Susan Rossi-Wilcox, who tends year-round to the glass-flower garden at Harvard, says the Corning exhibition highlights the flowers' beauty by showing them alongside the Blaschkas' detailed sketches, their simple tools and their worn, wooden workbench."
The glass flowers at Corning are from the Harvard collection.

The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants at Harvard Museum of Natural History (1, 2, 3, 4).
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on June 25, 2007

Love transparent glass and love flowers. These ones by Leopold Blaschka are beautiful. Such detail! Amazing.

The Harvard Museum site re these flowers. More info from another site. A close-up.

The glass invertebrates are also mind-boggling.

Delicate glass butterflies and mechanical insects to pay homage to the botanical glass sculptures.
posted by nickyskye at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2007

Thanks nickyskye--I was looking for links like that but couldn't find them before my posting deadline (which was a conference call for work--shhh! ;-)
posted by donovan at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2007

These objects are my favorite objects in any museum, ever. Especially the marine invertibrates. A few years ago, at Harvard, I was lucky enough to see the ones that depicted plant diseases-- the fuzzy fungi and smuts rendered in glass were really something to see.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:22 PM on June 25, 2007

I saw these at Harvard many years ago when I was a teenager and forgot about them until this afternoon when I heard that NPR report. I remember that I was totally unenthusiastic about the idea before we went and then was totally entranced when I saw them. The detail and colors are amazing.
posted by octothorpe at 7:08 PM on June 25, 2007

My son and I saw the flowers at Harvahd last November. They're simply amazing.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:13 PM on June 25, 2007

Thanks donovan, ericb and nickyskye. Mindboggling indeed. 50 years for those 4000 models. Wow.
posted by peacay at 7:18 PM on June 25, 2007

Wow. Cool.
posted by serazin at 8:25 PM on June 25, 2007

These are amazing and this is a great post. Thanks!
posted by LeeJay at 10:59 PM on June 25, 2007

Amazing. Astonishing even.
posted by quin at 5:21 PM on June 26, 2007

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