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Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel + Art Forms from the Ocean: The Radiolarian Prints of Ernst Haeckel + Cabinet of Natural Curiosities / Das Naturalienkabinett / Le cabinet des curiosités naturelles (English, German and French Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (August 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791319906
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791319902
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Every biology student knows Ernst Haeckel as the originator of the "Biogenetic Law": ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Haeckel was a passionate student of the evolutionary shaping of biological forms, and Art Forms in Nature captures both his artistic sensibility and the scientific rigor he applied to all his studies. First published in 1904, Art Forms in Nature is a glorification of function and form, a demonstration of organic symmetry that has nothing--and everything--to do with nature as it actually exists. Each plate exhibits organisms carefully arranged and exquisitely detailed, "a symbiosis between decorative sketches and descriptive observations of nature," as Olaf Breidbach states in his fascinating introductory text. The radiolarians, medusae, rotifers, bryozoans, and even frogs and turtles lovingly recreated here are gorgeous and self-explanatory, rendered in delicate, filigreed lines, and colored gently with muted green, delicate pink, and sepia. Art students will appreciate the designs found in nature--scientists will love the evolutionary statement of form inherent in the beauty. --Therese Littleton

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely one of the best buys i have made in a long time, well worth it!
Holly
It's a good sampler of Haeckel's work, the printing is well done with thick pages and a non gloss finish.
M. Sundstrom
Haeckel was a fantastic artist, the book is full of colored and beautiful images.
Ana Paula B. Barros

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

272 of 278 people found the following review helpful By C. Toledo on June 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Length: 3:36 Mins
Video shows the size of the book, flipping through a lot of the plates and rambling.
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Danny Mauer on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
The illustrations are awesome, there's a universe of beautiful complex lifeforms that are too small for us to see. The illustrations are all in color, unlike other versions of Ernst Haeckel's prints, and it also has lots of text in the front about Ernst Haeckel's work, an autobiographic timeline in the back etc... Unbelievable art
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Phoenicia on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such a lovely book, I just HAD to let all you readers know. I didn't know anything about Haeckel (never even heard of the man.....), when I ordered this book. I just loved his drawing of the Medusa on the cover, and couldn't resist buying it, and boy, am I glad that I did..... There is such a quiet beauty in these plates.

The book is also published by Dover (see my review there), without any accompanying text (apart from a short publishers's note), and with all the plates printed in black and white.

In this book, many of the plates are printed 'in color' (either different hues of one color, or a color scheme based on two colors). The book also has a highly informative article on Haeckel and his times, and on those that were influenced by him.

I find it very hard to explain what exactly makes these plates so wonderfully beautiful. It is partly the symmetry of their composition, and the way in which they render the beauty of nature. The article in the book itself describes it very well:

"What is it that Haeckel depicts here that is so beautiful? It is the beauty of ornament. The forms illustrated in these pages seem to fit seamlessly into the repertoire of Art Nouveau forms. [........] Haeckel's approach did not determine Art Nouveau, instead Art Nouveau's approach determined Haeckel's. What ensued was a symbiosis between decorative sketches and descriptive observations of nature [...]."

If you are looking for a book on Haeckel and his plates, get this one!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christina C. Muir on January 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just recieved this book today amongst about 12 other art books and I can't yet put it down. Made my best friend cry the images are so beautiful. Many unique plates to study, each a stunning masterpiece.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Sundstrom on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This a a lovely book, though a bit on the lean side. It's a good sampler of Haeckel's work, the printing is well done with thick pages and a non gloss finish. Great for the coffee table or reference.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D K on August 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
...As others have reviewed the images, this review is about the physical characteristics.
...The quality, in the Prestel edition, is good enough for framing if you want to take the book apart. It is printed in Germany on acid free paper, of decent weight, unlike the Dover edition,which has no color plates.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christine on August 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm not kidding when I say this book has changed my life. Visually stunning, unimaginably beautiful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nipsey Russell on August 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Right now i am giving this 3 stars. I may up that to 4 stars with more information

1. Ernst Haeckel. Great stuff, fascinating, awesome pictures. About this there can be no doubt, and in general this is 5 star stuff.

2. People are saying the art is pristine, but i am not sure i am seeing that. I can see blurriness in here and i am not sure the colors are representative of the originals. The coloring of the medusa on the cover is fairly different from the original in the plates in the book. None the less, i have read the other versions available are often B&W and maybe i have too high expectations?

3. Here is my biggest complaint, and where someone can maybe guide me and i may up my review. I am half way through the front matter. There are references to Haeckel's text about the plates. Where the heck is Haeckel's text? Is it not included? Do no versions have the translation of his text??? Also, the section in the back that does provide some detail on the plates in several languages doesnt always seem to provide a clear english explanation of what i am looking at - often the more common name of the organisms doesnt seem present - often times i understand the french taxonomy more than the english. Even if Haeckel's original text isnt fully explanatory (which i get the impression it isnt) why go to the trouble of printing such a fascinating book without a better explanation of the plates? Why not tell me what group of animals is portrayed, and what parts of them are in the various parts of the pictures. The front matter talks about select plates (eg, the center of one illustration is the fish, the outer pictures are of scales; we are only looking at skeletons of radiolarioans; various parts of the pictures depict certain aspects of algae). Providing a clearer guide to what is what would seem a natural for a reprinting of this book.
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