The specimen jars of Frederik Ruysch


Some plates for Darwin Day from Thesaurus Animalium Primus (1710) by Dutch botanist and anatomist Frederik Ruysch. As is evident from these examples, Ruysch wasn’t above some frivolous indulgence when it came to illustrating his scientific texts, and he often gathered specimens into little tableaux which verge on the bizarre, such as the conjunction below of a child’s arm and a hatching turtle. Gone are the days when a renowned man of science might be depicted plucking at the entrails of a dead baby. This site has more about Ruysch’s specimens while BibliOdyssey posted some examples of Ruysch’s anatomical tableaux (with baby skeletons this time) and links to the books which contain them.


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Darwin at 200

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