Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.11796

    Allegory of microscopy

    Johann Justin Preissler (1698, German) , Draughtsman
    Object type
    Library reference
    height (print): 245mm
    width (print): 195mm
    Allegorical landscape with the central figure of Isis, representing Nature, being unveiled by Science.

    The scene has a triangular ‘eye of providence’ surrounded by a cloud and rays of glory, above. To the right, an arch bearing busts of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Jan Swammerdam and Johann Nathanael Lieberkuhn and a frieze showing Arachne. To the left, a rock outcrop is being mined and there is a view of the sea with sailing ships. The foreground contains four putti collecting butterflies, plants and pond life to view through microscopes. Isis is shown astride a globe, her right hand upon an elephant. Other elements include a beehive and chemical furnace, with a retort.

    Frontispiece plate from Amusement microscopique, tant pour l'esprit que pour les yeux, contenant... estampes... d'apres Martin Frobene Ledermuller, plates volume (Adam Wolfgang Winterschmidt, Nuremburg, 1764).

    Inscribed below: ‘Joh. Justin Preissler, Dir: del: A.W.Winterschmidt excud. Norimb.’

    Martin Frobene [Frobenius] Ledermuller (1719-1769) German naturalist and draughtsman worked in various capacities as a notary, turning to microscope studies after an illness induced temporary deafness.
    Associated place
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