The Evolution of Paleontological Art
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fossils have stirred the imagination globally for thousands of years, starting well before they were recognized as the remains of once-living organisms and proxies of former worlds. This volume samples the history of art about fossils and the visual conceptualization of their significance starting with biblical and mythological depictions, extending to renditions of ancient life as it flourished in long-vanished habitats, and on to a modern understanding that fossil art conveys lessons for the betterment of the human condition. The 29 papers and accompanying artwork illustrate how art about fossils has come to be a significant teaching tool not only about evolution of past life, but also about conservation of our planet for the benefit of future generations.
Development of paleontological art in Poland
Published:February 24, 2022
The first illustrations of geo-objects—different crystals of salt—from Poland were included by U. Aldrovandi in his Musaeum Metallicum (1648). The first publications containing paleontological sketches of fossil remains of animals and plants appeared in the early eighteenth century. G.A. Helwing, in his Lithographia Angerburgica (1717) and Lithographiae Angerburgicae Pars II (1720), included drawings of fossils of various ages from the Peri-Baltic area. G.A. Volkmann’s Silesia Subterranea (1720) was extensively illustrated by elaborate sketches of fossils including Carboniferous plants from the Lower Silesia region. In 1764, J.-É. Guettard published an important paper on the geology of Poland that contained detailed illustrations of fossils from various parts of the country. S. Staszic, in his two seminal books published in 1805 and 1815, provided detailed illustrations of animal remains, mainly bones of large, extinct mammals. This “pioneering era” of development of paleontological art came to an end with publications by two geologists that laid the foundations of modern paleontology in Poland: Polens Paläontologie by G.G. Pusch (1836) and Paleontologia Polska (1846) by L. Zejszner. In less than 150 years, paleontological art evolved from simple illustrations of “curious objects” from the subsurface to scientific drawings that marked the birth of modern paleontology.