Awesome photos of insects at the Carnegie Museum

Awesome photos of insects at the Carnegie Museum
Isabel del Rio
by Albert Durer

by Albert Durer

Upcoming exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Bug Works

Opens September 15, 2012


Carnegie Museum of Natural History

4400 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213



by Maria Sybilla Merian

by Maria Sybilla Merian

Looking for new creative art exhibitions, YM has found this peculiar one. ‘Bug Works’ features beautiful photography of insects, amazing specimens, and live bugs! This exhibition is a special project of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, in collaboration with Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientists.

Yes, fascinating, because the exhibition has joined science and art. Then, we can learn how these tiny critters survive in this big world or how they are important to our lives, and admire fantastic color photos to appreciate their incredible structures and to understand the last scientific discoveres.

Art and nature has always walked together and in the Middle Aged cathedrals, we find different sculpted animals or vegetables garnishing their walls. However, insects in themselves were unworthy of consideration as art topic. Albert Durer, in the Renaissance, was among the first of the artists who gave an insect center stage in a work of art, see for example his ‘Stag Beetle’ (1505) at the Getty Museum.



Afterwards, and during the 17th and 18th centuries, the love for Natural History started to be popular and insects started to be painted once and again. Sometimes, artists painted them to demonstrate their virtuosity and sometimes with a symbolic idea (a butterfly means ‘transformation’ ). In 1625, Francesco Stelluti‘s ‘Melissographia’, made the first scientific illustration of a bee with the aid of a microscope while Van Kassel created mini-universes of insects and butterflies. His works are mostly oil paintings on copper or wood.

From then, the topic is going to be present: in the Baroque Still Lives of every European artist, in the clean works of the artist and naturalist of the 18th century, Maria Sibylla Merian (In 1705, Maria Sybilla published her exquisite ‘Metamorphosis’, a folio of 60 engraved plates of the life cycle of the butterflies and insects of Surinam),in the Romantic visions of William Blake and in the Surrealist dreams of Salvador Dali. Of course, we must also remember the fantastic sculptures of spiders by Louise Bourgeois and the works by Emile-Alain Seguy, an Art Deco artist, who painted beautiful patterns with butterflies and roses and has a remarkable series, Insectes, done in collotype with pouchoir.

Currently, the artist Jennifer Angus creates large-scale installations made from petrified insects which evocated the Victorian cabinets of curiosities. Angus’ work is a mix of science and art, because it is highly decorative but is also meant to educate the viewer about the important role of insects in our environment.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History offers us a new opportunity to understand our environment and to honor our Mother Earth in a time of so many contamination and environmental damages.

Enjoy the exhition!

Other upcoming exhibitions of this interesting museum will be: ‘Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure’ (from October 6, 2012 to May 12, 2013); ‘Empowering Women’ (from October 6, 2012 to May 12, 2013); and ‘RACE: Are We So Different?’ (from September 28, 2013 to April 27, 2014).

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Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

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