The title of this exhibition refers to Ernst Haeckel’s popular 19th century scientific book Art Forms from Nature, first published in ten instalments between 1899-1904 to interest the general public in naturalism. Within it, the secrets and beauty of some of the creatures that live in our oceans are revealed to a broader audience, beyond the field of science, for the first time ever.
National Glass Centre, Sunderland launches two exhibitions that meditate on the blurring of artistic beauty and scientific accuracy.
The Natural History Museum’s collection of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschkas’ exquisite glass representations of marine life has recently been brought out of storage for an extensive programme of conservation. This is the first time it has been exhibited outside London since its restoration.
Blaschka sculptures of sea anemones, nudibranchs, cephalopods, jellyfish, protozoans and coral were once seen primarily as educational models for Zoology and Biology departments but are now internationally recognised as exceptional works of artistic and scientific modelling. Lost and forgotten about for decades, these delicate curiosities have been rediscovered, dusted down and preserved for a new generation of enthusiasts. The exhibition also features original illustrations of nudibranchs, or sea slugs, by Alder & Hancock courtesy of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.
Also showing are artworks by contemporary artists who have made marine life their subject using a variety of media including glass, porcelain, film, textiles, watercolour and pen and ink. Featuring: Dale Chihuly, Amy Cooper, Amy Globus, Tue Greenfort, Ilana Halperin, Ben Lawson, James Lethbridge, Ani O’Neill and Maria Grazia Rosin, alongside archive films by Jean Painleve and antique books with original plate illustrations by Zoologists Ernst Haeckel and Philip Henry Gosse.
National Glass Centre is running a programme of family and educational events based on Art Forms from the Ocean, including workshops; Amazing Jellyfish, creating jellyfish from recycled bottles; special events like the Rock Pool Road Show with Tynemouth Blue Reef Aquarium and talks, Discover Blaschkas’ Sea Anemone also with Tynemouth Blue Reef Aquarium, as well as Glass Workshops inspired by Art Forms from the Ocean.
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