the community site for and by developmental biologists

2 thoughts on “Scales in scientific images”

  1. You make a great point about the need for scale in images today, but Merian’s insect images did not require this for the simple reason that all of the insects in her four books are show life-sized. The problem with looking at her images out of context (without her text) is that the modern viewer does not have all of the information. She always wrote in her prefaces that insects were shown life-sized, and indeed, this was generally done in her time. Her images have been matched with specimens, and are indeed accurate.

    1. Dear Kay, thank you so much for the clarifications on Merian drawings. The scaling information then applies to the large books she produced, right? Because she herself re-printed them in many formats, at the Dresden University Library we have a small version (approx 10x13cm) of the Suriname insects.
      And – does this apply to all of her original drawings?
      Do you know how other botanical illustrators solved these? I would love to learn more!

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