Picturing Nature - Tawan Embodied in Natural Illustrations
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Picturing Nature - Tawan Embodied in Natural Illustrations

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Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30 am-5 pm
日曆圖案 2020/01/22 09:30 ~ 2021/05/30 17:00

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Event Details

The cornerstone of this exhibition is the development of scientific illustration, and its ties  with Taiwan’s natural history research. The exhibition starts with the definition and history of scientific illustrations; then into the 19th century, where natural historians and nature observers document Taiwan’s natural habitat; finally giving a picture of the development of contemporary scientific illustrations. Following the footsteps of these natural historians, viewers can also embark on a nature discovery journey through the lens of these experts. (Online exhibition available)

Documentation of nature observation could be found in historical relics dated back millions of years ago. Just to name a few: The famous Grotte Chauvet of France, and the Lascaux Cave boast murals roughly 20-30 thousand years old. Even though with the emergence of the writing system, people were able to record observations and scientific results with a sea of words, images still remain competitive in delivering messages that leap to the eye. Furthermore, it has gradually developed into academic-worthy and aesthetic documentations that give a detailed account of animals, plants, fossils, and even landscapes.

Take natural history for instance, the earliest scientific illustrations largely served as a handy helper in identifying living creatures. Entering The Renaissance and The Age of Discovery, scientific illustration became richer with exquisite sketching skills and discoveries of new species, in which animal anatomy as well as details that could only be observed by microscopes before are displayed, depicting almost everything under the sun.

From the 19th century on, natural history, which revolves around discovering nature, has seen a rising popularity under colonial resources competitions. Excursion group members include paleontologists, botanists, anthropologists; or even illustrators, who were in charge of sketching what they’d discovered in the field. In the absence of illustrators, scientists have also developed strong sketching skills, which allows them to intricately document the specimens from their safaris, whether in the wild or in the lab. It is no doubt that the art of scientific illustrations ebbs and flows with the development of natural history.

Taiwan’s first natural historical object is the work of the English botanist William Jackson Hooker: Rice Paper Plant illustrations in Biotoxonomy documents. From then on, scientific illustrations picked up its pace in Taiwan, the Japanese and Taiwanese continued Taiwan’s natural history research, and has seen an ongoing development to this day. Apart from academic works, scientific illustrations have also made appearances in a variety of published atlases. To name a few scientific illustrators popularly known nowadays, Jen-li Wang, Chien-Chu Chen, Kun-Mou Huang, Yi-lang Zheng, Song-lin Lin, En-sheng Yang, which all have collaborated with publishers, whether more public or academic inclined.

The cornerstone of this exhibition is the development of scientific illustration, and its ties  with Taiwan’s natural history research. The exhibition starts with the definition and history of scientific illustrations; then into the 19th century, where natural historians and nature observers document Taiwan’s natural habitat; finally giving a picture of the development of contemporary scientific illustrations. Following the footsteps of these natural historians, viewers can also embark on a nature discovery journey through the lens of these experts.