'Opulent Oceans' Showcased in Rare Books at American Museum of Natural History

  • Land Crab, Mark Catesby, 1729-1747

    Land Crab, Mark Catesby, 1729-1747

Inspired by the book Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History, this exhibition (through Oct. 2017) includes 46 exquisite reproductions from 33 rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works.

The world’s oceans abound with a truly astonishing diversity of life forms. Beginning some 400 years ago, European voyages of discovery began mapping the globe, and knowledge of ocean life flourished as never before. These explorers documented their discoveries in illustrated books—by sketching their own specimens or collaborating with artists and engravers—resulting in images that communicate the anatomy, life cycles, habits—and sheer beauty—of newfound marine species. 

The exhibition is curated by Melanie L.J. Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology in collaboration with Tom Baione, Harold Boeschenstein Director of the Museum’s Research Library.


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