Feast your eyes on the art of Ernst Haeckel

A new book from Taschen compiles 450 drawings, watercolours and sketches of living organisms by artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel

Fungi, Art Forms in Nature, 1899–1904, plate 63. All images ©Taschen / Lower Saxony State / University Library Göttingen unless otherwise stated

You might not know Ernst Haeckel’s name, but you will be familiar with his words – or perhaps his pictures. The artist and biologist is credited with coining the terms ecology and stem cell. He also produced hundreds of lithographic prints, watercolours and sketches of living organisms.

Haeckel is perhaps best known for Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), an illustrated volume cataloguing the various plants, animals and minerals he encountered during his career. He used art to explain his theories on evolution (he was an avid supporter of Charles Darwin) and his beautifully drawn and precise illustrations have inspired many an artist and designer.

Taschen’s lavish new book The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel brings together 450 of Haeckel’s finest images alongside essays on his scientific, environmental and artistic influence.

Spreads from The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel, published by Taschen

The book is written by Rainer Willman, director of the Zoological Museum at Göttingen University, and Julie Voss, an arts editor with a doctorate in visual representations of Darwinian evolution theory. It follows the release of Art Forms in Nature, a 140-page paperback published by Prestel in 2008.

The new publication doesn’t come cheap – the XL, 700-page German and English edition costs £150 – but it’s a comprehensive overview of its finest prints. Here’s a look at some of the astonishingly detailed artwork featured inside…

The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel is published on October 14 – see taschen.com for details or to order a copy