Exhibition | The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers, 1800–1804

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 30, 2018

I noted this exhibition in 2015 when it was entitled Napoleon’s Artists in Australia. Here’s a more complete venue listing with details on the catalogue, published by Wakefield Press. CH

The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers, 1800–1804
South Australian Maritime Museum, Adelaide, 30 June — 11 December 2016
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, 7 January — 20 March 2017
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 7 April — 9 July 2017
Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 31 August — 26 November 2017
National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 30 March — 20 June 2018
Western Australian Museum, Perth, 12 September — 12 December 2018

See exquisite illustrations of Australian animals and marine life, as well as striking portraits of Aboriginal people, rare documents and hand-drawn maps from Nicolas Baudin’s expedition to Australia. Discover the ambitions behind this lavishly funded French voyage and experience a captivating fusion of art and science.

Jean Fornasiero, Lindl Lawton, John West-Sooby, eds., The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers 1800–1804 (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2016), 176 pages, ISBN: 978-1743054277, $40AU.

It was one of the most lavishly equipped scientific expeditions ever to leave Europe. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, French navigator Nicolas Baudin led two ships carrying 22 scientists and more than 230 officers and crew on a three-and-a-half-year voyage to the ‘Southern Lands’, charting coasts, studying the natural environment and recording encounters with indigenous peoples. Inspired by the Enlightenment’s hunger for knowledge, Baudin’s expedition collected well in excess of 100,000 specimens, produced more than 1500 drawings and published the first complete chart of Australia. Baudin’s artists, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, painted a series of remarkable portraits of Aboriginal people and produced some of the earliest European views of Australian fauna. An integral part of the French scientific project, these exquisite artworks reveal the sense of wonder this strange new world inspired.

Jean Fornasiero is Emeritus Professor of French Studies at the University of Adelaide and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Lindl Lawton is Senior Curator at the South Australian Maritime Museum. John West-Sooby is Professor of French Studies at the University of Adelaide.

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