Scientific Art in Victoria

In 1851, the same year that the colony of Victoria gained its independence from New South Wales, gold was discovered. The rush that ensued saw Melbourne transformed into a confident sprawling city.

Among the fortune hunters were individuals of sparkling intelligence and artistic flair. Fresh from Berlin, London, Cambridge and Dublin, they infused the evolving city with new ideas and institutions, including a fledgling museum, the beginnings of Museum Victoria.

Questions for the classroom

Humanities Inquiry
Why was Ludwig Becker such a significant figure in Scientific Illustration during this period?

Research his life and write a short biography of his work. Use the link to Beck biography below to start.

Science Inquiry
What evidence can you identify in the illustrations appearing in this section that reflect scientific concerns with accuracy and detail?

Art Inquiry
Each artist working in the colony of Victoria brought individual vision and expertise, while working within strict taxonomically-driven parameters.

Look at the drawings of Arthur Bartholomew and Ludwig Becker. Discuss the similarities and differences of their work.

Consider the art elements, materials and style.