Photographer Paulette Tavormina: Seizing Beauty

Paulette Tavormina: Seizing BeautyToday Paulette Tavormina and the Monacelli Press have released her new book, Seizing Beauty.

Taking inspiration from the Golden Age still-life masters, Tavormina lists her influences as being the artists Giovanna Garzoni, Francesco de Zurbarán, and Adriaen Coorte.





Adriaen Coorte. Stilleven met een kom, aardbeien, kruisbessen en een bundel asperges op een tafel
Adriaen Coorte. Stilleven met een kom, aardbeien, kruisbessen en een bundel asperges op een tafel

Adriaen Coorte was a Middelburg artist who  studied under Melchior d’Hondecoeter in Amsterdam around the year 1680. He seems to have been relatively unknown except in the town of Middelburg until his works were revived by  Dutch art historian Laurens J. Bol  in 1952. In 1958, Bol arranged a popular exhibition of 35 Coorte works at the Dordrechts Museum, which ensured his art will not be forgotten by future generations.

Read about Paulette Tavormina’s recent work in, Vivid Images That Aren’t Old Masters — but Look Just Like Them.

And to learn more about the woman, her art and exhibitions, visit the Paulette Tavormina web page, which is full of Golden Age inspired delights.

The Wadden Sea Wardrobe

Cropped portion of the Janssonius map of Map of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. 1658. (Public Domain)
Cropped portion of the Janssonius map of Map of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. 1658. (Public Domain)

The island of Texel, off the north coast of the province of North Holland, The Netherlands, is the first island forming the Texelreede (Texel Roads) which for centuries formed a sheltered haven for ships leaving the many ports in the Zuider Zee. It was particularly busy during the Golden Age, and therefore is also home to many shipwrecks. A recent discovery here of a wardrobe with much of the contents still intact is being lauded.

‘Rarely, if ever, has such a big discovery been made in a maritime context’, says Maarten van Bommel, Professor of Conservation Science and chair of the section Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at the UvA.” (Source)

So what did the find? Learn more at:

The Kaap Skil Museum Exhibition ‘Garderobe’.

Royal 17th-century wardrobe found in the Wadden Sea.

Texel gown belonged to member of royal court of Queen Henrietta Maria.

Texel Tourism





The AstronomerJohannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675)1668Oil on canvas*Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures*Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) 1668 Oil on canvas. (Public Domain)

I am looking to restart this blog on a casual basis, with the goal of sharing items on and around the Dutch Golden Age, with a focus on science. art and culture. It will no longer be Leeuwenhoek-centric, (although he remains one of my personal heroes of science), but rather it will generally share how that era continues to reverberate in society today. It will probably retain the bias I have for Delft, but that is to be expected.

I’m presently looking for a new blog name, so suggestions will be accepted! (…and yes, The Dutch Golden Age has already occurred to me, and may still be used.)

Farewell Antoni

"Lens on Leeuwenhoek"

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Centraal, the blog,  is now officially retired. I began this site originally because I was disappointed that Holland, and the town of Delft, in particular, had made no concrete attempt to recognize van Leeuwenhoek and his impact on early science. As far as I know, this has not changed. However, with the proliferation of blogs and websites, I can rest assured that at least in the digital world, Leeuwenhoek will not be forgotten.

Particularly, there is one website that has excelled in the life and times of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. I want to encourage all visitors to this blog to visit the excellent Lens on Leeuwenhoek site: it is by far the best resource for all things Leeuwenhoek. And please, look to the sidebar here for many more links to fascinating history of science sites.

I have not stopped blogging entirely. I will be opening a photography website soon, and I have just launched a new site called Splendor Awaits, which will reveal my primary interests: bugs and macro photography. Eventually, I hope to continue my  fascination with the history of science at Splendor Awaits, particularly in regards to the history of entomology. No doubt Leeuwenhoek will be part of my life again then!

Goodbye, and please visit me at my new site.

Leeuwenhoek and The Lecture

Every three years, the Royal Society recognises excellence in the fields of microbiology, bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and microscopy by offering the Leeuwenhoek Lecture prize. For more on this lectureship prize, visit Leeuwenhoek Lecture at the Royal Society.

For a more on the prize and why Leeuwenhoek is honored in this way, read The Leeuwenhoek Lecture 1988. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek 1632-1723 (pdf) by A.R. Hall, FBA.

Population, Leeuwenhoek and National Geographic

National Geographic is running a special series on population – and who is leading the way on population estimates?

Though his tiny peephole gave him privileged access to a never-before-seen microscopic universe, he spent an enormous amount of time looking at spermatozoa, as they’re now called. Oddly enough, it was the milt he squeezed from a cod one day that inspired him to estimate, almost casually, just how many people might live on Earth. Nobody then really had any idea; there were few censuses. Leeuwenhoek started with an estimate that around a million people lived in Holland. Using maps and a little spherical geometry, he calculated that the inhabited land area of the planet was 13,385 times as large as Holland. It was hard to imagine the whole planet being as densely peopled as Holland, which seemed crowded even then. Thus, Leeuwenhoek concluded triumphantly, there couldn’t be more than 13.385 billion people on Earth—a small number indeed compared with the 150 billion sperm cells of a single codfish!

Not very accurate, but he was the first to consider our planet’s population.

Read 7 Billion for more on Leeuwenhoek and population at National Geographic.

Top Ten Zoological Discoveries

The Guardian has an article on the greatest discoveries in zoology:

At BBC Wildlife magazine, a panel of judges has been mulling over the question. Today, the results of their deliberations are published as the top 10 breakthroughs in zoology. The list in full is below, in descending order. How have they fared?

Leeuwenhoek places second, just below the discovery of the fossilised remains of Archaeopteryx:

The 17th century Dutch scientist Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek made some of the best microscopes of his time, using them to discover microorganisms, or “animalcules”. His work led to dramatic re-evaluations of the causes of disease and improvements in hygiene.

Read the complete article at the Guardian, and visit BBC Wildlife for the source.