Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart November 30, 2010 at 8:51 am

“Last week’s Nature highlighted the sculptures of Alfred Keller (1902-1955), and the example, a model of the Brazilian treehopper Bocydium globulare, struck me as one of the weirdest animals I’ve ever seen:”

Martin Kemp describes Keller’s work:

“Keller was trained as a kunstschmied, an ‘art blacksmith’. From 1930 until his early death he was employed by the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History), painstakingly labouring over his recreations of insects and their larvae. Each took a year to complete. Keller worked first in plasticine, from which he cast a model in plaster. This plaster reference model he then recast in papier maché. Some details he added, cast in wax, with wings and bristles in celluloid and galalith (an early plastic material used in jewellery). Finally he coloured the surfaces, sometimes with additional gilding. The levels of patience and manual control Keller exercised were incredible. His fly, for example, boasts 2,653 bristles.

. . . Keller was a sculptor of monumental one-off portraits. Each model is a masterpiece, with no effort spared. It is difficult to see how such a skilled artisan could survive in today’s museums, with their emphasis on cost analysis. Keller’s exacting models may be things of the past, yet they are far from obsolete. Like the great habitat dioramas, they exercise a magnetic attraction.

The first thing a biologist does on seeing a model like this is think, “This can’t be real,” and resorts to some Googling. Sure enough, it’s a real insect.”

Read more at Why Evolution Is True

November 30, 2010 at 9:20 am
Matt says:

Sure this is not Google’s new camera for mapping their new project. They’ve done, Google Earth, they’ve done Google Street View, now, it’s Google Undergrowth!!!!!

November 30, 2010 at 10:26 am
TheCyrusVirus says:

His models are amazing. The level of detail from some of these museum models is breathtaking. A little while ago I came across another pair of museum artists that worked in glass making sea creatures and flowers. The site is in Dutch but they have the best pictures of the Blaschka’s work:

November 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

Somehow I suspect, somehow, that the hopper likes strawberries…


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