Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was a German zoologist, philosopher, professor, physician, naturalist, biologist, writer and natural history artist. So somewhat of an overachiever then. He is on record for having done lots of significant things, like discovering over a thousand new species, coining the term ecology and selling Darwin’s theory of evolution to Germany and the wider world. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of him.
The pinnacle of his artistic work was Art Forms of Nature published in 1899. It includes over 100 stunning colour lithographic prints based on watercolours or sketches Haeckel produced while transversing the world.
Even today, when we are flooded with images of amazing species, his artworks remain exciting and exotic. His composition, subject choice and use of artistic licence maximise visual impact, unearthing the resplendent magic of nature in a way that never grows old.
Below we show the botanical plates of his natural history collection including Bryophyta (i.e. mosses and liverworts). All artworks are now in the Public Domain.