Haeckel in history

1 minute read

Just in time for school to start -- Slate is running a slide-show essay about Ernst Haeckel, including his life and work. It features some of his stunning art, like this illustration of radiolarians:

Ernst Haeckel's "Radiolarian Array Painting"

Apparently there is a Haeckel documentary making the rounds of film festivals:

The animated documentary Proteus explores the nineteenth century's engagement with the undersea world through science, technology, painting, poetry and myth. The central figure of the film is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel, who found in the depths of the sea an ecstatic and visionary fusion of science and art.

Science reviewed the film in June. From the review: </p>

What makes Proteus a truly stunning film--one that I highly recommend for a general audience, students, and scientists alike--is its creative use of montage and animation. Throughout the film, Lebrun relies exclusively on original 19th-century images. He presents drawings, historical photographs, and paintings along with animations of these images that highlight the stunning beauty of organic forms and of Haeckel's artistic representations. These animations (together with Yuval Ron's minimalist musical score) convey, through contemporary means, the sense of nature's creative and transformative powers that so fascinated 19th-century artists and scientists. Furthermore, Lebrun contrasts Haeckel's quest to understand nature with the inward journey of Samuel Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (making effective use of Gustav Dore's illustrations). This juxtaposition further highlights the different roles of the sea in the 19th-century imagination.

Should be interesting!