A Parade of Plumage
Engravings by Francois Nicolas Martinet
November 8 2014 - April 26 2015
Before John James Audubon sprang onto the scene, there were accomplished avian artists in Europe who sought to accurately record the diversity of the world’s birdlife. This drive to catalogue, categorize, and describe was driven by Enlightenment-era scientific thinking that placed value on reason over emotion as the means to creating a more civilized society. Working in the middle to late 1700s, Francois Nicolas Martinet was one of the most prolific engravers of his era. His most accomplished work was a series of 1008 prints created to accompany the massive Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, written by the famed French natural historian, Georges Louis Leclerc, le Comte de Buffon. A recent donation of 102 prints by Martinet, created for the Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux forms the corpus of this complementary exhibition.