021617: Overlooked

img_3592_01_lr_12

Today’s images come from shooting I did at the Museum of Natural History in Florence. These particular images were originally passed over when I chose my “selects” from this project. This month’s snow and cold allowed me to revisit my photo libraries and “discover” these previously untouched images.

img_3594_01_lr_12

I normally try to avoid the cliche of “pretty flower” images, but these are very different. They are wax botanical models – wax sculptures, if you will – made during the 18th and 19th Centuries at the waxworks of the Imperial & Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History.

img_3597_01_lr_12

They currently reside in the collection of the Florence Museum of Natural History in the Botany Section and overseen by the section head, Dr. Chiara Nepi.

img_3602_01_lr_12

Regular viewers might recall the images I posted this time last year of the collection of fantastical fungi (0310: A Curious Cabinet). Those mushroom sculptures came from that same Botany Section.

img_3599_01_lr_12

Also, within that section resides an amazing collection of seeds and plant specimens, each of which is more visually stimulating than the other. Below are more samples.

img_3531_01_lr_12

*****

img_3495_01_lr_12

*****

img_3464_01_lr_12

*****

img_3584_01_lr_12

*****

img_3480_01_lr_12

My deepest thanks to Dr. Nepi for allowing me the opportunity to explore the objects under her care. She has always been so kind and gracious with her time in allowing me to enter her world.  I am always most grateful.

_______________

img_3637_01_lr_12

I’ll finish today with a handful of images from La Specola, another section of the Florence Museum – this time from their Mineralogy collection. I know a bit about fossils and their rock matrices but almost nothing about gems and minerals. I do know, though, that they can be pretty mind blowing and quite something to see!

I hope you agree,

img_3628_01_lr_12

*****

img_3646_01_lr_12

*****

img_3638_01_lr_12

*****

img_3627_01_lr_12

My thanks again to all those kind, thoughtful, and wonderful folks at the Museum whose kindness I could never repay!

And thanks to you for the visit today.

Advertisements

0310: A Curious Cabinet

IMG_0514_01_LR_12

I discovered months ago that many of my regular viewers have a thing for mushrooms (you know who you are!). Today’s post is one you might find particularly interesting. The opening image, above, is a cabinet that runs from desktop to ceiling, one of many that line the walls of a small room in the Botany Section of the Florence Museum of Natural History. And, yes, it is filled with mushrooms – or rather – a beautiful collection of mushroom sculptures from the 1800s.

IMG_0402_01_LR_12

Every door that was opened to me in the museum last month gave way to fascinating objects of all sorts. This one, though, caught me completely by surprise.

IMG_0388_01_LR_12

I was visiting with Dr. Chiara Nepi, Section Head of the Botany Department. Dr. Nepi had allowed me to photograph in her areas on my last visit. She was most kind and generous to me at that time and so a visit this trip to say hello was very much in order. As the visit was wrapping up I mentioned about my experience with my neighbor’s mushroom farm. “Have you seen our collection of mushrooms?” she asked. No, I was not aware but more than happy to take a look.

IMG_0428_01_LR_12

Within moments, the door to this room opens. And, once again, I’m dumbfounded by what I see!

IMG_0522_01_LR_12

Turns out the Museum has this collection of amazing models (more than 200, I believe) made in the 1800s by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Barla, a curious and interesting scholar, naturalist, and botanist. His models became appreciated by both researchers and enthusiasts and were in such high demand that he began manufacturing them in the 1850s.

IMG_0476_01_LR_12

These are just a few of the pieces in the collection, which was donated to the museum over a period of years.

IMG_0530_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0452_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0372_01_LR_12

So, I thank Dr. Nepi once again for the opportunity to play with these little gems!

IMG_0430_01_LR_12

_______________

IMG_0639_01_LR_12

I also managed to have a few moments with another interesting, small collection – this time belonging to the Ornithology Department. Birds’ nests and birds’ eggs.

IMG_0658_01_LR_12

Prepping these images for today’s post seems particularly appropriate on a day like today. Back home now after traveling. Early Spring. The sky is filled with long, long “V”s of honkers heading north – like trains lined up one behind the other, waiting for their turn to head home.

IMG_0675_01_LR_12

Birds are everywhere – probably checking out the best location for a new nest!

IMG_0672_01_LR_12

Thanks for the visit.

IMG_0689_01_LR_12

0303: Museum Mix

IMG_0702_01_LR_12

With the bags just unpacked and the many, many image files uploaded, I have put together a sampler, of sorts, from the wide variety of objects  I photographed at the Florence Museum of Natural History this past month. It was an honor and privilege to be allowed in and one for which I am most grateful.

DSC_0836_01_LR_12

Storage rooms in any museum tend to have real visual allure, places where odd juxtapositions often exist behind every door. This museum’s wealth and breadth allowed me to access, for instance, the Mammal collection one day…

DSC_0807_01_LR_12

…and Reptiles the next, or Ornithology, or Botany, etc.

IMG_8692_01_LR_12

Wonderful things to see : the texture and patterns of the chameleons and the ancient gastropods.

IMG_0291_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0273_01_LR_12

From the very small, in this case, a mantis (I believe)…

IMG_7927_01_LR_12

… to the very large – skull and bones of a whale.

IMG_9786_01_LR_12

Echinoderms:

IMG_8110_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_8168_01_LR_12

Ornithology:

IMG_0075_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0091_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_9998_01_LR_12

From the Botany Section: models of mushrooms, made of paper mache and resins, from a collection from the 1800s.

IMG_0489_01_LR_12

And , last for today, from the Entomology collection, one of their many stunning butterflies.

IMG_7846_01_LR_12

More to come.

Thanks for the visit.

1024: Halloween to da Vinci

IMG_1301_01_LR_12

At the end of a long corridor at La Specola, at the entrance to rooms full of anatomical waxworks, this skeleton greets all visitors. An appropriate image, I thought, with Halloween just around the corner. La Specola, one of six sections that cumulatively comprise the Florence Museum of Natural History, is world famous for the waxworks and, while immensely fascinating, is not for the squeamish!

_______________

IMG_1325_01_LR_12

_______________

But it turns out that La Specola is so much more. It deals with the broader subject of Zoology. Opened in 1775, it is the oldest scientific museum in Europe. I’ll have much more in future posts.

_______________

IMG_3783_01_LR_12

_______________

_______________

The Botany Section, in which I was also allowed to photograph, is another wonder to behold. Not only does it contain an herbaria containing more than 225,000 dried plant specimens, it also houses endless cabinetry filled with plant seeds and samples in glass-stoppered bottles and vials. Here are a couple of examples:

IMG_3570_01_LR_10_______________

IMG_3516_01_LR_10

_______________

_______________

IMG_4802_02_LR_10_______________

“Oculistico”, one of many street scenes I focused on, seems to have an undercurrent – and not an entirely pleasant one at that. What makes it so? Maybe it’s the sunglasses.

_______________

IMG_4622_01_LR_10_______________

Two more street scenes from Rome. Ancient buildings in the heart of the city – one with Roman artifacts strewn about all around it – and the other with motorbike parked out front.

_______________

IMG_4573_01_LR_10_______________

_______________

IMG_4525_01_LR_12_______________

And here are two more from my Street Shrines series – in this case both from Rome.

_______________

IMG_4500_01_LR_10_______________

_______________

IMG_3356_01_LR_10

During our trip Cindy and I were constantly amazed and gratified by the treatment we received. Everyone we met was so very willing to extend themselves and help insure a memorable experience for both of us. One example was a wonderful day in the Tuscan countryside with Dr. Elisabetta Cioppi and Dr. Stefano Dominici, the two people to whom I owe such a huge debt of gratitude. It was they who were responsible for my exhibition. We managed to visit two fossil sites, the first of which was across the vineyard seen above. The cut in the distance, and the dirt road leading to it looked like this:

IMG_3326_01_LR_10

I’ve never seen such density – fossils crackling underfoot like walking on popcorn! A hillside full of these Pliocene fossils (app. 3 million years old).

_______________

IMG_5226_01_LR_10

_______________

I managed to bring a small bagful home to my studio where I have had some time to explore. These are a few of the resulting images.

_______________

IMG_5333_01_LR_10

________________

IMG_5352_01_LR_10

_______________

And finally, during that day in the countryside, Elisabetta took us to the little town of Vinci (as in Leonardo da ___). We toured the da Vinci Museum and then visited his birthplace. Turns out that in his youth he became familiar with these same fossils, part of his insatiable curiosity that eventually led to his greater understanding of geology and earth processes.

_______________

IMG_3291_01_LR_12_______________

My recent fascination with “character-laden” trees did not abate while in Italy. There was a great deal to choose from, especially this one special tree that resides in the courtyard of da Vinci’s birthplace.

_______________

Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com