Science and the Artist's Book
An exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and
the Washington Project for the Arts
Herald of Science
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The New American Practical Navigator
Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1802
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in
the seafaring culture of late 18th-century New England. His love
of mathematics, astronomy, and sailing are combined in this
manual on navigation, which was printed in more than 70 editions
between 1802 and 1876, a powerful testimonial to the importance
of the book in guiding generations of American ocean-going
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Pattie Belle Hastings
Atlanta, Georgia: Ice House Press, 1994
[monoprint, computer printing, rubber stamping, gouache, metallic pen]
Land-locked in Atlanta and longing for the open sea, Pattie
Belle Hastings was intrigued by Bowditch's directions for sailing
a large vessel. His instructions for charting a ship's course
using fixed points of reference serve the artist as a metaphor
for navigating through life. Hastings unites her own practical
experiences with seafaring terms from Bowditch's work.
Herald of Science
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Preclarissimus Liber Elementorum Euclidis...in Artem
Geometrie [The most excellent book of the Elements of Euclid...on the art of geometry]
Euclid's Elements has been called the most influential
textbook of all time. Written around 300 B.C., it provided an
overview of elementary mathematics (arithmetic, geometry, and
algebra) and laid the foundation for further mathematical studies
conducted up until the modern period. This first printed edition
possesses a timeless quality that shines forth in the clean lines
and beautiful shapes of its geometric diagrams.
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Elements of Geometry by Euclid
Brooklyn, New York, 1994
[laser printing, paper]
"When I saw Elements, Euclid's studies on geometry, the book
was so thoroughly modern in design and conception that I was
hesitant to change any element of the book," writes Sjoerd
Hofstra. Instead, he transformed Euclid's original two-dimensional drawings of geometric shapes into three-dimensional
models that spring from the flat pages as pop-ups.