Medusa's Menagerie

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Book Details

Author 
Publisher  Hirmer Publishers
Publication Date   March 15, 2018
ISBN  3777428981
Pages  232

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Description

The precision in the works of Otto Marseus van Schriek—the inventor of the sottobosco still life—continue to fascinate viewers to this day. Always directing the viewer’s gaze towards reality, often with gruesome detail, this seventeenth-century Amsterdam painter’s works show a paradigm shift from book-based scholarship to empirical science. Animal and plant studies served as preparation for his paintings, which in fact went on to provide the illustrations to many scientific works in his time.
 
This porous relationship between art and science fueled van Schriek’s friendships with scholars such as Johannes Swammerdam and Cassiano dal Pozzo, and inspired his membership in a broader international republic of scholars. Titled after one of van Schriek’s most famous paintings, Medusa’s Menagerie situates the artist for the first time within the context of his scholarly contemporaries, revealing an unknown side of the Golden Century of Netherlandish painting, and illuminating how scientific advances influenced the region’s artistic fascination with the dark, the hidden, and the uncanny.
 

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