Natural Interactions in the Book as Art and Making Knowledge

Natural Interactions in the Book as Art and Making Knowledge

September 19, 2022

Yale’s Medical Historical Library is delighted to offer our newest online exhibition, “Natural Interactions in the Book as Art and Making Knowledge.” The digital exhibition, highlighting some of our wonderful rare Renaissance and early modern natural history and science books, was curated by Renata Nagy, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Renaissance Studies and GSAS Professional Experience (GPE) fellow.

Featuring over seventy images from fifteen different rare early modern texts from the Medical Historical Library’s collection, the exhibition showcases how elite collectors, interested laymen, artists, and naturalists shaped the book as an active work of art and a site of knowledge production about nature via various reading and learning practices. Illustrations of richly colored flowers, book collections of pasted dried plants, translations of wobbly annotations, and videos of unfolding plates like the oversized microscopic flea in Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) demonstrate the variety of ways in which users processed information and invented new ones about natural specimens. Engage with these collections yourself through a few coloring pages based on some of the lovely images in the exhibition.

Click on the link to dive into the rich world of natural history books and art.

By Melissa Grafe

Head of the Medical Historical Library