Ernst Haeckel

German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist


Ernst Haeckel with skull and monkey skeleton - Haeckel posing for an unknown photographer around 1904

Ernst Haeckel is a big inspiration to us. He was an evolutionary biologist ("the German Darwin") who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology. He was a gifted draughtsman and painter as well. However talented, he realised that the visualisation of his discoveries needed a professional artist. All his life he worked together with Adolf Giltsch, a Leipzig based lithographer who made the scientific illustrations for Haeckels publications.

At the end of the 19th century, they published a pop-science digest of their work: Kunstformen der NaturKunstformen is a collection of 100 magnificent lithographs with the best theme plates with drawings of mostly underwater micro-organisms. 

The book that bridges the gap between science and art, was a great commercial success that inspired many art noveau artists, such as Berlage, and that is still influential in current day. 


Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel  Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny") claiming that an individual organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species' evolutionary development, or phylogeny. (from Wikipedia)

Database of Scientific Illustrators

Worked together with scientific illustrators:

Eduard Giltsch, Adolf Glitsch, Wilhelm Wagenschieber among others.

Contact information

  • Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel

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