Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blaschka "Sea Creatures in Glass" Exhibition," through March 1, 2009, Harvard Museum of Natural History

I have just been alerted to a pretty exciting sounding exhibition now on view at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Called "Sea Creatures in Glass," the exhibition features 58 of 429 artful glass models of sea creatures produced by father/son team Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) and Rudolph Blaschka (1857-1929) that reside in the museum collection but are rarely on view to the public. From the press release:

58 spectacular glass models of jellyfish, anemones, octopus -- animals crafted by the same renowned artists who created Harvard’s ‘Glass Flowers’. Many years before they were commissioned by Harvard University to make the “Glass Flowers,” father and son artists Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, meticulously shaped glass and wire into lifelike models of marine animals.

Renowned for their beauty and exacting detail, the Blaschka marine invertebrate models were commissioned by universities and museums throughout world during the 19th century. This new exhibition features 58 of these spectacular glass animals – many never before on public display – taken from Harvard’s collection of 429 models.

Delicate jellyfish and anemones, tentacled squid, bizarre sea slugs (nudibranchs), and other soft-bodied sea creatures captured in glass are a sparkling testament to the Blaschka legacy.

Combined with video, real scientific specimens, a recreation of the Blaschka’s studio with their actual work bench, and a rich assortment of memorabilia, these invertebrate models offer intriguing insights into the history, personality, and artistry of the extraordinary men who created them. (through March 1, 2009) at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA www.hmnh.harvard.edu
Harvard Square Red Line MBTALink

The exhibition will be on view at the museum through March 1st, 2009. I have had the good fortune to see these models at other museums (such as the wonderful Grant Museum of Zoology in London) and can say that they are well worth a special trip; really beautiful, spectacular, fragile stuff, beautifully solving the problem of how to demonstrate the anatomy of such amorphous, delicate creatures which tend to languish, formless, when preserved in spirits.

For more information about the exhibition, directions, etc., visit the museum website here.

Thanks, Blue, for sending this along!


Michelle said...

Thanks for spotlighting this! I'm always drawn to work like this that's wonderfully delicate and intricate. Have you seen david chihuly's work or Coe&Waito's jellyfish project?

Suzanne said...

Aaaah... the Blaschkas! Adorable! I adopted a Blaschka glass octopus from the Grant Museum, btw. It was the best Christmas gift I've ever bought myself. :)

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Lady Meerkat said...

Dale Chihuly is my favourite -living- glass artist. These guys are my first. I love organic glass work. It's such a versatile medium!