In Pictures

  • 1592 engraving depicting insects, mouse, and insect life cycle

Renaissance Resurrection: Linking the History of Science, Art, and Religion

The image above, from a 1592 collection of engravings based on miniatures by the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel, offers a moralizing, emblematic interpretation of nature. Under the heading “birth, suffering, and death,” a dead mouse admonishes the viewer that life is short and bitter, while the larva, pupa, and adult hawk moth serve as a reminder of the Christian belief in resurrection. This is the first known published illustration of an insect life cycle. Renaissance historian Brian Ogilvie (History Department) is examining early modern depictions and descriptions of insects and other small creatures to find out how they connected art, science, and religion. Learn more.

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