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This illustrated book records some defining moments in the art of natural history, taken from the world-famous collection of drawings at Windsor Castle. It accompanies the exhibition which opened at the Queen's Gallery, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in January 2007, moving to the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in Spring 2008.
From the fifteenth century onwards, as European explorers sailed forth on grand voyages of discovery, their encounters with exotic plants and animals fanned intense scientific interest. Scholars began to examine nature with fresh eyes, and pioneering artists transformed the way nature was seen and understood. In Amazing Rare Things, renowned naturalist and documentary-maker David Attenborough joins with expert colleagues to explore how artists portrayed the natural world during this era of burgeoning scientific interest. The book focuses on an exquisite selection of natural history drawings and watercolors by Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian, and Mark Catesby, and from the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo-works all held in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Attenborough and his coauthors offer lucid commentary on topics ranging from the 30,000-year history of human drawings of the natural world, to Leonardo's fascination with natural processes, to Catesby's groundbreaking studies that introduced Europeans to the plants and animals of North America. With 160 full color illustrations, this beautiful book will appeal to readers with interests that extend from art and science to history and nature.
The Royal Collection, held at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, has been shaped by the personal tastes of kings and queens for more than five hundred years. The Collection s exquisite natural history artworks in Amazing Rare Things is supplemented by an introduction and commentary from Sir David Attenborough. This exploration of the natural world from the late fifteenth century to the early eighteenth century represents a period when European knowledge of the world was transformed by voyages of discovery to the farthest reaches of Africa, Asia, America, and beyond. Included are works by Leonardo da Vinci and other foremost artists and collectors of their time who embraced the natural riches of their ever-expanding world and whose legacies help us better understand today our continuing relationship with the natural world."
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