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Tag: Natural history

The Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes / El Arte de Louis Agassiz Fuertes

To celebrate Hispanic American Heritage Month, the Smithsonian Libraries is honoring Puerto Rican American natural history illustrator Louis Agassiz Fuertes with a blog post in both English and Spanish. The Spanish translation (bottom of page) is courtesy of Angel Aguirre, library technician at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Library in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

Monoceros: What Conrad Gessner’s discussion of the unicorn tells us about natural history in Renaissance Europe

A woodcut of a unicorn from Gessner’s Icones animalium, p. 62. Gessner described this image as “the sort which is generally depicted by artists today” without committing himself to its accuracy.

This post was written by James Truitt, intern in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.

In August, the National Museum of Natural History opened Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend, an exhibition about the tusked whale monodon monoceros sometimes called the unicorn of the sea. Most of the exhibit focuses on narwhal biology, arctic ecology, and Inuit culture, but one section breaks from the polar theme to explore another legacy of the narwhal—the mythical unicorn.

Fantastic Worlds of the Natural Philosopher

Dean Howarth as Charles Willson Peale and Melinda McCalley as Mary Anning
Dean Howarth as Charles Willson Peale and Melinda McCalley as Mary Anning

The term “Natural Philosopher” was common in the early 19th century for someone who studied nature and the physical universe. It was not until the mid-19th century onward that the term scientist becoming more popular. Natural philosophers often pursued a wide variety of both scientific and artistic interests and offer a colorful glimpse into the world they inhabited.