The Spectacle of Nature:
Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium
So far in the series we have covered books with animal illustrations that have a religious or emblematic quality. Today we are highlighting Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium (“History of Animals”), a five-volume set of books published in 1551-1557 that mark a dramatic shift into looking at animals in a scientific and naturalistic way. Gessner’s Historia animalium is considered the start of modern zoology in the West and it was the most widely read of all the Renaissance natural history books.
Conrad Gessner (1516-1565) was a humanist, meaning he derived his knowledge of the world through books, especially texts by ancient scholars such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder. His Historia animalium was meant to bridge the gap between ancient and medieval works with that of Renaissance science. Gessner compiled all that was known about particular animals from a variety of written sources, including folklore, myths and legends. Modern scientists would be very uncomfortable with the types of sources Gessner includes in his Historia animalium because he tried to list all known associations of animals along with physical descriptions. For example, the entry on the fox would include what a fox looked like and how it behaved in nature, but also what characteristics humans have ascribed to foxes throughout time like the notion that they are shifty and cunning.Gessner included the animal associations found in Andrea Alciato’s Emblemata.
Historia animalium is broken down into categories:
Volume 1: Live-bearing four-footed animals (mammals).
Volume 2: Egg-laying quadrupeds (crocodiles and lizards).
Volume 3: Birds.
Volume 4: Fish and other aquatic animals.
Volume 5: Serpents (snakes and scorpions published posthumously in 1587).
The illustrations in Historia animalium are very naturalistic compared to those found in Medieval bestiaries and printed copies of the Physiologus. Animals are not show in an iconographic way illustrating a particular scene, but instead appear as real living creatures. Some entries are on fictitious creatures like the hydra, sea monk, and unicorn. There was a lot of crossover between fact and fiction in Gessner’s work.
Many scholars believe that the shift towards more naturalistic animal illustrations was inspired by the popularity of herbals during the period such as Jacob Meydenbach’s Hortus sanitatis (“Garden of Health” which also features illustrations of animals) and Leonhart Fuchs’s De historia stirpium (1542). These herbals depicted plants in a naturalistic way, and in Fuchs’s case they were based on observations of living specimens.
Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium was extremely popular. It was later translated into English by Edward Topsell and re-published with the same illustrations. We will feature Topsell’s The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents in a later post in the series.
The black-and-white illustrations we are featuring today are from a 1586 edition printed in Frankfurt by Robert Cambier for Johann Wechel held in UW-Madison Special Collections. The hand-colored illustrations are from the 1551-87 edition printed in Zurich by Christoph Froschauer the Younger from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s online collection “Historical Anatomies on the Web.”
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–Sarah, Special Collections Senior Graduate Intern
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A good portion of you need to sit down and figure out if this is or isn’t the fandom for you.
Listen. The majority of the fandom are adults well over the age of like 20. That has much to do with most of the fans seeing the movie when it originally came out when they were younger or it was passed down to them from family members that saw Labyrinth when it came out. A lot of your Bowie fans who are also well over the age of 20-30 really enjoy this movie because Bowie’s music follows much more mature themes than most (not all) younger people like myself would listen to today. I’ve been in the classic rock/glam rock fandom for a few years across multiple social media sites- most fans I’ve interacted with personally are over 30. Labyrinth in general constrains themed of growing up, keeping parts of your childhood, and understanding your sexuality as you transition from teen to adult. Jareth was/is a heartthrob for many. Ive seen countless posts and heard what feels like a billion testimonies of Jareth being one’s sexual awakening. So it’s like an equation: you take adults, Jareth’s very intentional sex appeal experienced from that older generation- it’s going to be a very adult fandom with very adult themes.
The biggest ship in this fandom is Sareth. Someone else can sit down and crunch the numbers but if I had to guess then I’d say 95% of fanfiction from AO3 to Wattpad is Sareth content. Safely, I can say 98% of that has an aged up Sarah- largely influenced by the canonical portrayal of Sarah being an adult in the Return to Labyrinth manga series as well as David Bowie’s “As the World Falls Down” music video. Sarah is canonically an adult in both one which directly involves Bowie. Which I find hilarious considering most of the people I see having any problem with the ship are much younger Bowie fans. Like 13-19 year old Bowie fans. Like yell at your man that you worship so much too if this ship truly bothers you that much. Look back at some of the interviews for Labyrinth and tell me what you think of Bowie and a few other people you like after that. I can’t help but notice the hypocrisy your spouting. But I digress: It’s fine if you don’t see them working out as a pair, it’s fine if you don’t see the appeal, or want to ship at all in the fandom. If you find it creepy by your own personal views, fine! But when you enter a fandom that predominantly ships that thing that you don’t like so much, don’t be mad when you don’t most of the people in this fandom that you interact with ship that thing. And don’t be mad when someone gets offended by an assumption you’re throwing around when they are or not doing anything near what you’re assuming. It’s your job to curate your fandom experience and you can do that easily with simple tools like a search bar, unfollow button, and block button. Tag filtering helps too!
For myself, my personal views have changed so much from the time I entered this fandom to now. I’ve been just as hypocritical with some things that I understand and appreciate about Labyrinth that I couldn’t grasp before. But I’ll never agree with underage Sarah being paired with Jareth in any way. I can’t and won’t stand for it and I’m not going to surround myself with people who are okay with it. That’s for my own personal experiences and traumas I have endured but will not go into. I have boundaries. But to sit and point fingers at adults in an adult fandom that ships two adult characters together? I’m going to assume you’re a very ignorant and/or immature asshole, little 13-16 year old kid that probably needs more parents supervision. Why are you even on an app that’s age limit is 17+? That’s on you, kiddo. If most of the adults on here have made it clear of what their content caters towards or if they’re tagging properly, or that they don’t even want minors interacting with them in the first place, then it’s on you to keep yourself away from what makes you or them uncomfortable.
And, my god, if you think Labyrinth is 100% a kid’s movie??? Lol you and I must’ve watched two entirely different Labyrinths and you need to sit your ass down and rewatch the movie again because- well, you should know better. I’ll leave it at that. Y’all must’ve seen the version where every shot of Jareth is from like his mid-torso up lmao.
But with all of that being said- if you can’t handle the Labyrinth fandom mostly being made up of adults that ship something you can’t pull your head out of your ass to understand?? Allow me kindly show you the door:
Edit: I’m not gatekeeping I’m simply kicking your ass to try (probably in vain) and make you realize some things that I also had to realize
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MCU + Types Of Magic
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Why do I have to be here now?
Because we’ve tested you. You do very well with cardboard.
CONAN // May 17, 2021
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Sam: [walks into the kitchen wearing one of Bucky’s shirts]
Sarah: So you spent the night with Bucky, huh?
Sam, internally: Play dumb.
Sam: Who the hell is Bucky?
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like/reblog if you save & don’t repost or claim as your own.
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Got a family?
IRON MAN (2008)
dir. Jon Favreau
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Your only limit is your soul.
dir. Brad Bird
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Ive been wanting to do redesigns of some DP background characters for a while, so i thought I'd start off with these two.
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I mean if you wanna block everyone who ships Sareth, go ahead and block every blog you come across here. But don’t bitch about the fandom being inactive or that you’re not getting any reach
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Natasha Romanoff + MCU Appearances
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✨sunshine in human form✨
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You’re not taking that mug with you.
We’re hanging on to those.
Those are collector’s items.
CONAN // May 17, 2021
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Art Nouveau Decorative Plates from Neue Ideen
Today we present Art Nouveau decorative plates from Neue Ideen für dekorative Kunst und das Kunstgewerbe by Arnold Lyongrün, originally published in Berlin by Kanter & Mohr in 1901. Lyongrün (1871–1935) was a German impressionist painter who also worked in Jugendstil or Art Nouveau style. Before being drafted into the German Army during WWI, Lyongrün studied at he Académie Julian in Paris under Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Tony Robert-Fleury. There he became inspired by the Art Nouveau style of decorative arts, and published several Art Nouveau pattern books from 1898 to 1903. Neue Ideen contains 24 plates with 340 designs.
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– Sarah, Special Collections Graduate Intern
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You have no idea what you are dealing with.
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Dirty Dancing (1987)
dir. Emile Ardolino
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