Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, evolutionist, artist, philosopher, and doctor, who dedicated his life to researching the flora and fauna of both the highest mountain tops and the deeper oceans.
As a fervent supporter and scholar of Darwin's theories of evolution, he denounced religious dogma, wrote philosophical treatises, earned a doctorate in zoology, and coined now-commonly used scientific terms such as ecology, phylum, and stem cell.
Haeckel's immense legacy has fascinated, baffled and polarized generations. As a meticulous visual encyclopedia of living things, Haeckel's work stands out as much for its graphic precision and detailed shading as for its understanding of organic evolution.
From bats to cubozoans, from lizards to lichens, passing through spider legs or sea anemones, he placed special emphasis on basic symmetries and natural order, discovering biological beauty even in the most unsuspected creatures. The plates, in addition to representing an advance in the study of natural history, exerted an influence on several generations of artists and architects of the 20th century, from defenders of modernism to architects such as Hendrik Petrus Berlage.
This book pays tribute to the scientific, artistic and environmental importance of Haeckel's work with a collection of plates drawn from several of his most important volumes on marine biology, including Die Radiolarien, Monographie der Medusen, Die Kalkschwämme and Kunstformen der Natur. At a time when biodiversity is increasingly threatened by human activities, this volume is at once a visual masterpiece, an underwater exploration, and a vivid reminder of the beautiful diversity of life.
Texts in English.