From the fifteenth century onwards, as European explorers sailed forth on grand voyages of discovery, their encounters with exotic plants and animals fanned intense scientific interest. Scholars began to examine nature with fresh eyes, and pioneering artists transformed the way nature was seen and understood. In Amazing Rare Things, renowned naturalist and documentary-maker David Attenborough joins with expert colleagues to explore how artists portrayed the natural world during this era of burgeoning scientific interest.
The book focuses on an exquisite selection of natural history drawings and watercolors by Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian, and Mark Catesby, and from the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo--works all held in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Attenborough and his coauthors offer lucid commentary on topics ranging from the 30,000-year history of human drawings of the natural world, to Leonardo's fascination with natural processes, to Catesby's groundbreaking studies that introduced Europeans to the plants and animals of North America. With 160 full color illustrations, this beautiful book will appeal to readers with interests that extend from art and science to history and nature.
A book to savor . . . sumptuous . . . transcendent. "
David Attenborough, a pioneer of the nature documentary, has written and presented nine major television series on virtually every aspect of life on Earth. Susan Owens was formerly Assistant Curator of Paintings and Drawings for Royal Collection Trust and is now an independent art historian. Martin Clayton is Head of Prints and Drawings for Royal Collection Trust and Rea Alexandratos is Dal Pozzo Project Co-ordinator for Royal Collection Trust.