This essay considers the impact of evolutionary theory on late nineteenth-century German art, especially as represented through the writings and illustrations of zoologist Ernst Haeckel. As the chief advocate for Darwin in Germany, Haeckel published twenty technical books and numerous popular texts which featured his specialized research in marine biology, microorganisms (radiolarians), and simian ancestry. The influence of his views on artists such as Arnold Böcklin, Max Klinger, Gabriel von Max, Ernst Moritz Geyger, and Alfred Kubin, are considered within the context of the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, German Romantic nature philosophy and literature, popular visual culture, and the growth of public zoos and aquariums.
Dr. Morton’s other recent activities include:
“In the Shadow of Biedermeier: Max Klinger and the Exposure of Privacy,” presented in the session “An Audience of One: Assessing the Arts of Privacy,” chaired by Anne Leonard, College Art Association conference, Chicago, February, 2010.
“Max Klinger and the Unheimlich Return of the Biedermeier Past,” in Edvard Munch und das Unheimliche, (Edvard Munch and the Uncanny,) curated by Michale Fuhr, exhibition catalogue, Vienna: Leopold Museum, October 2009- January 2010, pp.48-56
“Art’s ‘Competition with Nature’: Darwin, Haeckel, and the Scientific Art History of Alois Riegl,” presented at the conference “The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,” The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, July 2009.