Tuesday, March 21, 2017
1) de Juana, Eduardo, and Juan Varela. Birds of Spain. 2017. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 257 pages. Price: $37.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: English version of Aves de España, the most popular Field Guide to the identification of the birds of Spain. Recommended by SEO/Birdlife, it contains updated information on all bird species present in Spanish territories. Includes Peninsular Spain, Ceuta, Melilla and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Describes field identification characteristics, habitat, migratory status, distribution and conservation status of all regularly present species and common vagrants, and also contains an appendix with a summary of other occasional species. Completely revised texts and many new drawings. Updated taxonomy following the HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. More than 300 maps detailing the areas of presence throughout the year. Around 1,000 color illustrations showing the main details for the identification of the species in the field. 567 species, including 173 vagrants.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful supplement to the standard European guides.
2) Egmond, Florike. Eye for Detail: Images of Plants and Animals in Art and Science, 1500-1630. 2017. Reaktion Books. Hardbound: 280 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Image-transforming techniques such as close-up, time lapse, and layering are generally associated with the age of photography, but as Florike Egmond shows in this book, they were already being used half a millennium ago. Exploring the world of natural history drawings from the Renaissance, Eye for Detail shows how the function of identification led to image manipulation techniques that will look uncannily familiar to the modern viewer.
Egmond shows how the format of images in nature studies changed dramatically during the Renaissance period, as high-definition naturalistic representation became the rule during a robust output of plant and animal drawings. She examines what visual techniques like magnification can tell us about how early modern Europeans studied and ordered living nature, and she focuses on how attention to visual detail was motivated by an overriding question: the secret of the origins of life. Beautifully and precisely illustrated throughout, this volume serves as an arresting guide to the massive European collections of nature drawings and an absorbing study of natural history art of the sixteenth century.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of natural history art.