Crawly Creatures – Depiction and Appreciation of Insects and other Critters in Art and Science

Jan de Hond, Eric Jorink, Hans Mulder



  • Nai010 Publishers
  • Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
  • 2022
  • ISBN 9789462087569
  • 120+ images in colour and B/W
  • 200 pages
  • Softcover
  • 32 × 24.5 × 2 cm

Fascinating history of crawly creatures in Western art and science: from horror to admiration

> Accompanies the exhibition Crawly Creatures at the Rijksmuseum 30 September 2022 until 15 January 2023 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Crawly creatures: small, itchy critters, spiders, lizards, toads and, above all, insects. For a long time, these animals have suffered from a negative image; in the Middle Ages they were mainly associated with death and the devil. In the 16th and 17th centuries, this changed and they became the center of attention. People started to appreciate their beauty; crawly creatures appeared in works of art, became the subjectof scholarly treatises and were popular collectors‘ items.

Artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Wenzel Jamnitzer, Jan van Kessel and Maria Sibylla Merian managed to depict these creatures beautifully. Even scientists become mesmerised. The ‚kleyne dierkens‘ (litte animals) are collected, depicted, studied and put under the microscope.

Today, artists are still inspired by the crawly creatures and depict new ways of dealing with insects and the natural world.

This richly illustrated publication is about that wonder for the small world and the fascinating relationship between art and science.

Design: Irma Boom


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