The German biologist Ernst Haeckel was fascinated by medusae, the umbrella-shaped animals commonly called jellyfish.
For Haeckel, whose imagination was shaped in the Romantic era, medusae expressed the exuberant yet fragile beauty of Nature. And in their ethereal forms he glimpsed a reflection of his great love Anna Sethe, who died tragically at the age of twenty-nine.Ernst Haeckel and Anna Sethe — Source.
Haeckel had been engaged to Anna for four years when, in 1862, he became associate professor of zoology at the University of Jena.
The job gave the adoring pair the economic security they needed to finally marry. In the same year, Haeckel published a book on radiolaria (microscopic plankton) which he furnished with stunning illustrations.
In Jena, the newlyweds lived together in bliss for eighteen months. Then, on the day he was supposed to celebrate his thirtieth birthday and receive an award for his radiolaria book, Anna died suddenly, probably of a burst appendix.
Haeckel became mad with grief. A partial delirium kept him in bed for eight days.
A month later he wrote to a friend, “I am dead on the inside already and dead for everything. Life, nature, science have no appeal for me. How slowly the hours pass.
”Haeckel travelled to the Mediterranean town of Nice to attempt a recovery from his suicidal malaise.
One day he took a walk and saw a medusa in a rock pool: “I enjoyed several happy hours watching the play of her tentacles which hang like blond hair-ornaments from the rim of the delicate umbrella-cap and which with the softest movement would roll up into thick short spirals.”
He made a sketch and named the species Mitrocoma Annae [Anna’s headband].
Russian fairy tales from the Russian of Polevoi, by R. Nisbet Bain, illustrated by Noel L. Nisbet; 1915; Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York.
A collection of Russian fairytales translated from the Russian of Nikolai Polevoy, a notable editor, writer, translator in the early 19th century.
The translations were made by Robert Nisbet Bain, a British historian who worked for the British Museum, and a polyglot who could reportedly speak over twenty languages fluently.
He famously taught himself Hungarian in order that he could read the works of Mór Jókai in the original after first reading him in German, going on to become the most prolific translator into English from Hungarian in the nineteenth century.
“There is an ethereal, otherworldly feeling to this photograph, as this little island in the middle of Tumuch Lake in northern British Columbia appears as if it’s floating in the clouds,” says Shane Kalyn, who submitted this photo to the National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest.
The scene was amazing to witness, let alone be lucky enough to photograph—totally the right place at the right time.”
This photo and caption were submitted to the 2014 National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest.
The opening of Melbourne street artist Rone’s exhibition, Empty, in Fitzroy. (Supplied: Sophie Argiriou)
by Julia Baird
For the artistically stunted among us, the idea of labouring intensely on murals while perched on ladders, cranes and cherry pickers for days or weeks, only to have our beautiful images tagged with graffiti or smashed to rubble, is a profoundly depressing one.
But for street artists, it’s a singular thrill. Temporariness is part of the game.
When I stand in an empty old movie theatre, the Star Lyric in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, looking at an enormous, delicately drawn female face, two storeys high, the thought that it will amount to a painted pile of rocks in a few days is difficult to stomach.
But the artist, Rone, created it knowing that the building would be destroyed by developers shortly after his current exhibition, Empty, closes.
A painting of a woman dominates a wall in an empty old movie theatre as light pours through round windows.
Portraits of beautiful women shine in Rone’s exhibition in Melbourne.
A finite lifespan, he says, is what makes street art singular: it blooms suddenly, then is exposed to the elements.
“The temporariness is what makes it contemporary, of the moment, and more important or special,” he says.“When someone paints something on the street it won’t be protected, anyone can come with spray paint and draw a dick on it, and destroy it — but you walk away, there’s not much you can do about it.”