3 December 2008

Russians imagine Darwin

Tip of the bowler hat to Adrian Thysse at Evolving Complexity for bringing our attention to a new exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery called "Dreams of Science: The Life of Charles Darwin in the Russian Imagination".

It's only on through 16 Jan 2009 and it seems worth a visit not least for the chance to view, up close, what appear to be some disturbingly brooding depictions of scenes from Darwin's life (there are low res thumbnails in a pdf you can download from the website, a selection of which I've copied and pasted at the bottom of this post) as well as various other 18th and 19th century sceintists who influenced Darwin.

The paintings are on loan from the collection of the State Darwin Museum in Moscow; who knew that existed? I sure didn't, and neither did Adrian. The exerpt that Adrian gives us from the museum's website includes this interesting tidbit: 'One can literally say that Russia became a second fatherland for the Darwinism.'
*cue creationist quote-mining*
...as well as this one: 'In 1907 the State Darwin Museum (SDM) was established in Moscow on the initiative of a young Russian scientist, A.F. Kots. In that time this museum became the first museum of natural history in the world.' Uh, what? Well, I don't know exactly which natural history museum was the first in the world, but I do know the one I work at in London opened its doors in 1881 (1753 if you don't require it to be housed in its own distinct building to be called a natural history museum).

Despite this little gaffe on their website, their paintings are most certainly worth seeing while they're in the UK. For more coverage of the exhibition, please visit Evolving Complexity and the Birmingham Post.

Darwin and his sister riding on North Wales (1948)
V Yevstafiev
Pastel on paper 30x39cm

Darwin discovering a prehistoric fossil skull (1920)
M Yezuchevskii (1880-1928)
Pastel on cardboard 42x53cm

Darwin on the Beagle (1926)
M Yezuchevskii (1880-1928)
Pastel on paper 85x60cm

Darwin collecting sea creatures (1948)
V Yevstafiev
Pastel on paper 40x26cm


Peter Mc said...

Good griefski. Darwin discovering the fossil skull looks like Van Gogh having a bad afternoon on the absinthe and about to blow his ear off.

Adrian Thysse, FCD. said...

I was at your museum this last summer, and I didn't twig on to their "first museum of natural history" error.


Thanks for the golden touch!