Posted in biology, communication and networking, museum

Art and Darwin

I already knew that Darwin was greatly inspired by his wife’s ability to play the piano, so this is very interesting to me. Featured in both SEED Magazine and the BBC:

As part of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, Connecticut’s Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and the UK’s Fitzwilliam Museum—the art museum to which Darwin would escape from college classes at Cambridge, have launched Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science, and the Visual Arts [Get info], a traveling exhibit that properly takes stock of the impact Darwin’s evolutionary theories had on the visual arts. The exhibit moves from Yale to Cambridge on June 16.

Surrealist artists claimed Freud, the cubists looked to Einstein, but Charles Darwin’s influence on his 19th century artistic contemporaries has rarely been fully appreciated. Artists of all shades reacted to his revolutionary theories, and this exhibit attempts to capture their range of responses in all sorts of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sketches, and sculptures. Sprinkled amidst 200 works of art are historical collections of natural wonders like beetles, fossils, gems, stuffed birds, and plated flowers. These items give visitors a distinctly visual sense of what artists—and Darwin himself—grappled with during the Victorian era, as academic science began to challenge the subjective nature of romantic art.

Check out the BBC’s audio slideshow featuring some of the pieces of art on display at the exhibit.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.