The Blaschkas' passion for nature
In the 1800s, scientists had a problem. They wanted to study tiny creatures and marine life – like jellyfish and sea slugs. But preserved specimens lost their color, texture, and shape. Rudolph and Leopold Blaschka had a solution: glass models!
The Blaschkas were interested in nature and science. They studied and sketched live and preserved specimens and scientific illustrations. Using their drawings, they then created incredibly lifelike, detailed glass models!
Why are the models important?
The Blaschka models helped scientists study tiny creatures like Heliozoa, which can be smaller than a grain of sand!
Museums ordered thousands of models. Even today, the models inspire visitors to learn more about marine life and the oceans.
Scientists and artists like Ernst Haeckel were fascinated by the ocean's diversity. Haeckel inspired many Blaschka works.
Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka were two of the most skilled glass artisans the world has ever seen. Their family had been in the goldsmithing and glass making business for over 600 years! They employed a method called "lampworking," which involves using a torch or flame to melt and shape glass.
Time capsules going back 150 years
The Blaschka marine invertebrates are like a time capsule. They give us a glimpse of the biodiversity of the oceans of 150 years ago. Some of these creatures are now extinct, endangered or difficult to find in the wild. What do you think the Blaschkas would say about our oceans today?
In the 1800s, people were traveling more. Many people were inspired by encounters with nature. While on a ship, Rudolph Blaschka saw and sketched luminescent jellyfish at night. Some say that this is what inspired him to create marine invertebrates out of glass. Have you ever been inspired by something you’ve seen in nature?
Meet the Blaschkas
Rudolph (1822-1895) and Leopold Blaschka (1857-1939) were extraordinary glass artisans. Today they are famous for their beautiful, lifelike glass flowers and marine invertebrates. The pair produced thousands of these models for museums and universities all over the world.
Where can you find Blaschka models today?
Want to know more?
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