Sunday, November 4, 2007

Glass Flowers at HMNH

When a friend first told me I absolutely had to see the Glass Flower Collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, I thought of tacky glass trinkets one might see at a gift shop. As anyone who has experienced them knows, I could not have been more wrong. Created as botanical teaching models from 1897–1936 by the Bohemian father-son team of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, the flowers are one of the most stunning achievements I have ever seen. I felt humbled trying to get my arms around the level of sensitivity, patience, and invention that went into the making of each object. And there are over 3000 of them! Don't judge by these small photos here, or any photos for that matter. You have to see them to believe them. As scientific models, they are touted as jaw-droppingly accurate. As art, they are achingly evocative meditations on the imperfect, fragile beauty of life.

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