February 12th marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. I’ve selected two interesting accounts of his influence…
Darwinism in art FRANKFURT – The author of the blistering book On the origin of species by means of natural selection would be 200 years old in 2009. A great number of conventions and symposiums will study its influence on modern science. The initiative of the Schirn Kunsthalle is more original – to track the influence of the British scientist on the visual arts. It is not always easy to know if that influence is direct: did Redon and Klimt paint and draw their mutant creatures after specifically reading Darwin? In other cases, it is easier: we know Böcklin spent a week in the zoo in Naples, together with its director, a Darwin follower, and that Max Ernst, a palaeontology fan, quenched his thirst for knowledge in specialised works. One is never a prophet in his own country: among the 150 works grouped together, very few are by English artists. Only George Frederick Watts enthusiastically embraced the new theories on evolution.
Art and the research on origins at the Schirn Kunsthalle, from 5 February to 3 May 2009 Know more (http://www.schirn-kunsthalle.de/index.php?do=exhibitions_detail&id=88&lang=en)
Scientific American has reposted the article Charles Darwin and Associates, Ghostbusters first written in 1996 by Richard Milner. It’s actually a fascinating story surrounding the trial of a spiritualist and how the co-discoverers of natural selection took opposing sides. (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=charles-darwin-and-assoc)