Books

Post image for Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Butterfly Illustrations

At the end of Vladimir Nabokov’s poem “Pale Fire,” he describes how “White butterflies turn lavender as they / Pass through its shade where gently seems to sway / The phantom of my little daughter’s swing.”

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Post image for A Visual Homage to Brutalist Behemoths

Even while major Brutalist structures face preservation issues — like Marcel Breuer’s Central Library in Atlanta, whose fate is being decided now — the aesthetic of these concrete-based buildings continues to gain in popularity.

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Post image for The Relics of Victorian Natural History in Eye-Popping Stereoscope

Natural history storerooms are a bit like drowned Noah’s Arks, with specimens from every realm of the animal world posthumously preserved.

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Post image for The Life of One of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Nude Models

“That which is the immodesty of other women has been my virtue — my willingness that the world should gaze upon my figure unadorned,” Audrey Munson, the favorite nude model of the Beaux Arts movement in the United States, once proclaimed.

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Post image for The Forgotten Artistic Playgrounds of the 20th Century

No matter if your childhood playground had a rusted metal slide that was scorching hot in summer or a sleek and safe structure of soft plastic climbing walls and swings, it’s likely that you created your own narrative of play.

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Post image for Illustrated Dolphins and Vampire Squid from the Dawn of Ocean Exploration

In the 16th century, Pierre Belon published one of the earliest scientific depictions of a dolphin: a woodcut with finely hatched skin and pointed teeth.

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Post image for Scarred Rejects from the Farm Security Administration’s Great Depression Photos

Spend some time browsing the 145,000 negatives at the Library of Congress from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and an odd pattern will emerge.

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Post image for The 9th-Century Islamic “Instrument Which Plays by Itself”

In the 9th century, the Banū Mūsā brothers in Baghdad designed a mechanical, hydraulic organ that was made to play endlessly by itself.

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Post image for Uncovering a Manifesto in the Blog of Visionary Architect Lebbeus Woods

From 2007 to 2012, the late architect Lebbeus Woods kept a blog that offered a peek into the mind of one of our most visionary contemporary creators.

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Post image for A Tribute to New York’s Wilting Flower District

If cities had such things as official botanicals, New York City’s might be the flower bouquet.

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