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June 01, 2009

Various species of Cystoidea, extinct allies of the starfish

Haeckel_Kunstformen_der_Natur_plate_90.jpg

Sean Michael Ragan argues that plate 90 of Earnst Haeckel's Art Forms in Nature lithographs has had an "extremely broad-reaching influence on the imagination of alien and other-worldly life in the twentieth century."

The place of Earnst Haeckel's beautiful lithographs Kunstformen der Natur ("Art Forms in Nature") in the history of science and art is well-documented. More particularly, the influence of Haeckel's illustrations on foundational American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft has also been thoroughly established. However, while perusing the 1976 Dover edition of Haeckel's prints recently, I was struck by the particular significance of Haeckel's plate number 90, which is reproduced at the top of this page. The English caption accompanying the plate in my edition reads, "Various species of Cystoidea, extinct allies of the starfish."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 1, 2009 08:48 AM