Between Observation and Image: Representations of Insects in Robert Hooke's Micrographia
Contribution to Books
The English polymath Robert Hooke (1635-1703) can be credited with a number of mathematical and mechanical inventions, including the equation describing elasticity known as Hooke's Law, and with originating the term "cell" in biology. But it is Hooke's Micrographia, published in London in 1665, that is considered a landmark in the history of scientific illustration.1 His spectacular illustrations of plants, insects, astronomical bodies, and mechanical objects have long been praised for their artistic merit, scrupulous accuracy, and careful attention to detail. Containing thirty-eight copperplate engravings, Micrographia stands as a testament to Hooke's talents as an observer and illustrator. Little attention has been paid, however, to the visual techniques and traditions Hooke used to translate what he saw through the lens of the microscope into two-dimensional images.
Neri, Janice. (2008). "Between Observation and Image: Representations of Insects in Robert Hooke's Micrographia". The Art of Natural History: Illustrated Treatises and Botanical Paintings, 1400-1850, 83-107.