By Anna Escardó
436 pages, hardcover, $80
Published by Taschen
Illustration has long been the artform most entwined with scientific discovery and study. This weighty tome—over eight pounds—offers visual milestones “from the 15th century to today,” demonstrating how science illustration has given us an understanding of our place in the universe and helped demystify complex scientific theories over the ages. From mycology to the speed of light, science illustrations help us make sense of the natural world, and medical illustrations let us see the inner workings of the human body.
This title is timely as the world’s collective experience of COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of science in our lives and reintroduced the topic into general discussion. The book’s design is clean and elegant. Author Anna Escardó’s insightful descriptions of individual illustrations are succinct and informative, and her poetic introduction makes a compelling argument for the importance of science in our lives—in fact, we are science, as she claims.
Beginning in the 15th century when the Renaissance led to a series of discoveries in the sciences that eventually changed our perception of everything, the book offers 250 examples from the intervening centuries of scientific achievement. From beautiful botanical drawings to extraordinarily detailed cartography, from heliocentrism to space exploration and everything in between, the book presents the amazing output of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, among others, in a logical, attractive form. Designers and illustrators alike will find endless inspiration in this valuable book, which, in true Taschen style, has printings in English, French and German. —Anne Telford