Science and art seem on opposite ends of the disciplinary spectrum, but when one allows these themes to collide, the results can be rewarding. Mark Catesby was a British explorer, scientist, and artist who compiled the first major botanical and animal life record of North America. Catesby landed on American soil in Charleston in 1722, starting a four-year documentation of birds, reptiles, and mammals indigenous to the American colonies, now on view in Charleston at The Gibbes Museum of Art’s Artist, Scientist, Explorer, Mark Catesby in the Carolinas exhibit. The colorful and detailed watercolors of myriad wildlife are on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from the British Royal Collection. Patrons will leave with a deeper appreciation for the beautiful specimens that call the Carolinas home.
(From left) Mark Catesby, The Parrot of Carolina and the Cypress of America. Watercolor, body color, and pen and ink; The Ribbon-Snake and Winter’s Bark. Watercolor and body color with gum Arabic over touches of pencil; The Porgy. Watercolor and body color. All ca. 1722–1726, courtesy of The Gibbes Museum of Art
Artist, Scientist, Explorer: Mark Catesby in the Carolinas will be on display at The Gibbes Museum of Art through September 24. Located at 135 Meeting St, Charleston, South Carolina, the museum is open Tues and Thurs–Sat, 10am–5pm; Wed, 10am–7pm; Sun, 1pm–5pm.