1961 / Oil on canvas / 70 1/2”x62 1/4” / Private collection
Previous April 25 posts:
1535, 1636 / Oil on panel / 64”x43 1/3” / Storkyrkan (The Great Church), Stockholm, Sweden
Previous April 20 posts:
c.1552 / Gouache and watercolor / approx. 9 1/2”x13 1/2” / Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs
In 1705 English astronomer Edmond Halley published the first catalog of the orbits of 24 comets. His calculations showed that comets observed in 1531, 1607, and 1682 had very similar orbits. Halley suggested that they were really one comet that returned approximately every 76 years, and he predicted that comet’s return in 1758. Halley did not live to see his prediction come true (he died in 1742), but the comet was sighted late in 1758, passed perihelion —(*)closest distance to the Sun — March 13, 1759, and was named in Halley’s honour. Its periodic returns demonstrated that it was in orbit around the Sun and, thus, that at least some comets were members of the solar system.
1856-1900 / Collodion and silver on iron with lacquer / 3 1/2”x2 1/2” /
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Previous February 19 posts:
Reconstructed skeletons of dinosaurs and life-size models of how they may once have appeared are now commonplace. But until the British artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins created such things in the second half of the nineteenth century, dinosaurs and their kin were poorly understood and of little interest to anyone but a handful of professional paleontologists. Hawkins was responsible for designing public displays both in Great Britain and in the United States depicting prehistoric life…The beginnings of Hawkins’s lasting influence in paleontology can be traced to September 1852, when he earned an extraordinary commission: to fashion a group of life-size sculptures of “antediluvian monsters” for London’s Crystal Palace.
In order to refute the nascent stirrings of evolutionary theory, Owens pressed Hawkins to transform the iguanodon from the huge, low-to-the-ground lizard that scientists had guessed at since its discovery nearly twenty years earlier into a majestic quadruped that walked rather than slithered, built like a grotesquely oversized dog or pig.
Mistakes of that sort abounded in Hawkins’s models, driven in most cases less by ideology than by understandable lack of knowledge. As any contemporary visitor to Dinosaur Court will instantly grasp, these dinosaurs are … off. Awkwardly, humorously so.
Following his success with the Crystal Palace Exhibition, Hawkins came to New York City with the intent of recreating on one side of the Atlantic what had been so successful on the other…The plan was to set them up in a “Paleozoic Museum” in Central Park, which was then being landscaped under the direction of Frederick Law Olmstead, an ex-engineer officer in the Union army.
However, in 1871, before either the park or the dinosaurs were finished, New York City politics intervened. The corrupt Tammany Hall-Boss Tweed machine took control of city politics, and Hawkins and his dinosaurs were out.
The Central Park Conservancy’s historian, Sara Cedar Miller, told us this morning: “The dinosaur models were made of concrete and metal so their ‘bones’ would basically be unidentifiable if found. The remains were thrown into the Pond, not under sod…and the Pond has been dredged for restoration restored many times and it is quite unlikely that anything would be there now.”
The link below leads to a collection of images from an album of manuscripts, clippings, and images assembled over time by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins: Collection 803. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins Album. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. http://www.ansp.org/research/library/archives/0800-0899/hawkins803/
Probably one of the most recognized names in agricultural research, George Washington Carver (c.1865-1943) overcame numerous obstacles to achieve a graduate education and gain international fame as an educator, inventor, and scientist. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1064
Born a slave, [Carver] is one of the most historically prominent African American scientists. Carver was a pioneer as an agriculturalist and botanist by introducing methods of soil conservation for farmers, inventing hundreds of by-products from peanuts, pecans, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, and practicing “zero waste” sustainability. Scholars have recognized Carver’s talent as a painter and his ability to develop paints and dyes from various natural sources; however, there is very little scholarship documenting his work as a textile artist. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1922&context=tsaconf
Throughout Carver’s life, he balanced two interests and talents that may seem at odds – the creative arts and the natural sciences. Skills of observation, experimentation, replication, and communication applied to both art and science, making Carver as comfortable in the sciences as in the arts. https://www.thehenryford.org/explore/stories-of-innovation/what-if/george-washington-carver
In the late 1880s, [Carver] made his way to Winterset, Iowa, where a white couple encouraged him to apply to Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. The only African American student, Carver enrolled in Simpson in September 1890 as an art major. His art teacher recognized his considerable talents, but she was concerned that as a black man, he would have difficulties finding work as a professional artist. After Carver showed her some plants he had hybridized, she suggested that he transfer to Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University), in Ames, Iowa, where her father, J. L. Budd, taught horticulture. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1064
Holdings at the G.W. Carver National Monument and Tuskegee Institute National Historic indicate that Carver was proficient in textile techniques such as embroidery, weaving, crocheting, knitting and basketry. According to a document written by the National Park Service Carver created, “embroideries on burlap, ornaments made of chicken feathers, seed and colored peanut necklaces, woven textiles” (p. 24) and that “He was an honorary member of the Royal Society of Arts in London, England”. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1922&context=tsaconf
What spare time he salvaged from his hectic schedule usually went for the pursuit of loves Carver had sacrificed, like botany and art. He found time to crochet, knit, and do needlework. He found these activities satisfactory and they enabled him to produce useful items for friends. He had great appreciation for the world around him, in particular, the materials found in nature. He dyed many of his own threads and fibers with natural dyes made from local walnut, mulberry, and ochre clay.
He became a scientist, a teacher, a speaker, and more, but he never entirely let go of his art. Rather he brought it to his other pursuits, and at times even let it guide them. Carver taught art classes at Tuskegee in addition to his regular roster of courses. He also allowed his artistic talents to improve his scientific work. He drew diagrams with the fine pen of an illustrator, collected specimens with the attention of a painter and crossbred plants with profound creativity. Through out his life he maintained the soul of an artist and continued to paint. Carver was driven by science, but art remained his passion. https://www.nps.gov/gwca/learn/education/upload/carver-the-artist-curriculum.pdf
Aaron Siskind (1903-1991)
Dominick Labino (1910-1987)