Natures Narrators: The 2017-18 John H. Ostrom Program Series

The Specimen and the Image: Learning to Draw Fossils in the Seventeenth Century

With Paula Findlen

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Yale Peabody Museum

Free admission


How should one depict a fossil? The question in the seventeenth century was not easily answered since it was entangled with what you thought a fossil was. This talk explores the relationship between collecting, observing, and representing nature in the age of the cabinet of curiosities. Using the example of the Sicilian painter, naturalist, and antiquarian Agostino Scilla (1629-1700), whose fossil collection still survives today, this talk explores how a new understanding of fossils inspired new approaches to natural history illustration.


Dr. Findlen is Professor of Early Modern Europe and History of Science, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History, and Co-Director of the Suppes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at Stanford University