Dibner Hall of the History of Science



Digital Book Samples

Flip through selected works from the exhibition.


Natural History

In the early 1700s, natural history illustrations reached a new height. New printing and illustrating techniques, more accurate illustrations, and an increased interest in the relationships between plants and animals mark works of this era.


Maria Sibylla Merian
Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium
(Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname), 1730

Fascinated by insects and their metamorphosis, Maria Merian traveled to Suriname in 1699 to paint as many tropical species as she could find.
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Mark Catesby
Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, 1731-43

Englishman Mark Catesby traveled to the Americas in 1722 to observe and draw animals and plants in their natural environment.
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Working in a long tradition of anatomical illustration, 18th century artists and surgeons built on the technical and illustrative elegance of their predecessors, and produced lavish works that would soon give way to a harsher realism.


Gautier D'Agoty and Joseph Guichard Duverny
Myologie complete
(Comprehensive study of the muscles), 1746

Gautier D’Agoty made drawings of dissections done by anatomist Joseph Duverny. He then made the vividly colored plates pioneering the use of a three-color printing method known as mezzotinting.
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Bernhard Siegfried Albinus
Tabulae Sceleti et Musculorum Corporis Humani
(Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body), 1749

Working in the tradition of Vesalius, Bernhard Albinus represented the human body as an ideal form, placing his figures against backgrounds that referenced nature and classical scenes of beauty.
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About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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