Harvard University’s Natural History Museum has an exhibit of glass flowers that are one of the highlights of their collection. The models are realistic life models depicting the biology of a 847 species of flower. The founder of the Botanical Museum was seeking better models to use in teaching. Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, a father and son team, were commissioned to make the models. The collection, funded by a wealthy donor, took 50 years to build. It was presented to the University in 1936.
I’d heard about this glass flower collection for a while before I went to the museum to see it. Knowing the history of the collection and a bit about glassblowing, it’s undeniable that the collection is impressive, yet I found myself disappointed. I went looking for art and while the flowers a certainly the result of great craftsmanship, they were not created to awe visitors with their beauty. They are teaching tools. I personally was far more enamored of the giant fresh water turtle shell that came from a river in North America. The shell is large enough that I could lay inside of it, if the museum staff would allow that. They wouldn’t.
All of that is a rather longwinded preamble to introduce these X-Ray images by Brendan Fitzpatrick. They remind me of the glass flowers in that the structure of the flower comes to the forefront; the traditional exterior beauty taking a back seat.
It offers suggestions in the moment and surprises me always with images better than those I sought. This is a medium in which contexts collide with dramatic results. What was invisible can be suddenly made so obvious.
- via Trendland