| September 25, 2011 4:33 pm

Amongst horse trainers, there is a common piece of advice. It goes like this: “Experiment, observe, remember, and compare.”

This monicker is usually given in answer to questions such as, “How do I learn to understand my horse better?” or “How can I know if a particular technique will work for me?” But as useful as it might be for students of the horse, “Experiment, observe, remember, and compare” is sound counsel for just about anyone. (It summarizes the methodology of the scientific method, after all.)

For the most part, the work of observation is personal. There are cases, though, where it is possible to see the world through the eyes of another. This might be through artwork or explanation, but when it happens, it can be magical. Such is the work of Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, and artist.

Haeckel spent his career trying to understand the relationship between the different species of the animal kingdom. It was a life of intense observation and comparison, which is readily apparent in his artwork. Below, you can find some of my favorite folios from his books. All of the images are available from Wikimedia Commons. As are many others.

Elaeacrinus olivanites
Ernst Haeckel's Embryological Illustrations
Haeckal-Muscinae
Haeckel-Actinae
Haeckel-Ammonitida
Haeckel-Antilopina
Haeckel-Arachnida
Anthops ornatus
Haeckel-Chaetopoda
Haeckel-Coniferae
Haeckel-Cyrtoidea
Haeckel-Dermochelys-Coriacea
Haeckel-Discoidea
Haeckel-Embryos
Haeckel-Filicinae
Haeckel-Invertebrates
Haeckel-Jellyfish
Haeckel-Lacertilia
Haeckel-Lichens
Haeckel-Muscinae
Haeckel-Ophiodea
Haeckel-Ostraciontes
Haeckel-Teleostei
Haeckel-Trachomedusae
Haeckel-Trochilidae

Elaeacrinus olivanites

Picture modified from Haeckel, Ernst - Kunstformen der Natur (1899 - 1904) - Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber. Source: www.biolib.de - Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

Ernst Haeckel's Embryological Illustrations

Haeckal-Muscinae

Haeckel-Actinae

Haeckel-Ammonitida

Haeckel-Antilopina

Haeckel-Arachnida

Anthops ornatus

Picture modified from Haeckel, Ernst - Kunstformen der Natur (1899 - 1904) - Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber. Source: www.biolib.de - Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

Haeckel-Chaetopoda

Haeckel-Coniferae

Haeckel-Cyrtoidea

Haeckel-Dermochelys-Coriacea

Haeckel-Discoidea

Haeckel-Embryos

Haeckel-Filicinae

Haeckel-Invertebrates

Haeckel-Jellyfish

Haeckel-Lacertilia

Haeckel-Lichens

Haeckel-Muscinae

Haeckel-Ophiodea

Haeckel-Ostraciontes

Haeckel-Teleostei

Haeckel-Trachomedusae

Haeckel-Trochilidae

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