With the utmost pleasure we, the Conference Committee, would like to announce the introductory speaker of Congo’s Conference 2018/2019: Hans Mulder of the Artis Library.
Between 1500 en 1900 the way man described, pictured and understood nature fundamentally changed. Inventions, discoveries, and new research methods forced man to adjust his concept of nature and his own place in the world. The road to new understanding was a bumpy one. And still quite a number of people are finding it difficult to deal with the consequences of new facts.
This presentation briefly discusses five important natural historians: Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) who tried in word and image to be as complete as possible about all life on earth. Observation was important to him, but living in the sixteenth century he could not discard mythical animals; Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), who as a self-educated researcher tried to describe and picture the invisible; Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) who is considered to be the first ecologist, studied the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. She was a gifted artist and was the first western woman to see a spider killing a bird; Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778), who – not hindered by modesty – came up with a system that tried to order nature; and of course Charles Darwin (1809–1882), whose theory of evolution by natural selection completely changed what we know about life in general.
These stories will be richly illustrated with images from books of Artis Library of the University of Amsterdam by Hans Mulder, the curator of the Artis Library.