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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Robert Hooke
Micrographia: or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses
London, 1665

    Based on what he saw through the lenses of the newly invented microscope, Robert Hooke adopted the term "cell" to describe the tiny chambers he found in cork. A mechanical genius with an artistic flair, Hooke revealed many new wonders of the plant and animal kingdoms with his depictions of living specimens he observed under the microscope. Shown here is Hooke's representation of cork cells.

Artist's Book

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Karen M. Wirth
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1995
[silkscreen, paper, Fresnel lenses]

    Look through the lenses in Karen Wirth's Viewpoints. She fills her book with drawings and photographs representing 300 years of observation at microscopic and macroscopic levels. She combines Hooke's first drawings and views of cell structures with telescopic images of the Earth and electron-scanning images of the human body, in her own exploration of these normally invisible universes.

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