Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 104, Issue 4, pp 597–608 | Cite as

Observation and visualization: reflections on the relationship between science, visual arts, and the evolution of the scientific image

  • Eveline Kolijn
Original Paper


The connections between biological sciences, art and printed images are of great interest to the author. She reflects on the historical relevance of visual representations for science. She argues that the connection between art and science seems to have diminished during the twentieth century. However, this connection is currently growing stronger again through digital media and new imaging methods. Scientific illustrations have fuelled art, while visual modeling tools have assisted scientific research. As a print media artist, she explores the relationship between art and science in her studio practice and will present this historical connection with examples related to evolution, microbiology and her own work. Art and science share a common source, which leads to scrutiny and enquiry. Science sets out to reveal and explain our reality, whereas art comments and makes connections that don’t need to be tested by rigorous protocols. Art and science should each be evaluated on their own merit. Allowing room for both in the quest to understand our world will lead to an enriched experience.


Art and science Digital imaging Printmaking Scientific illustration Symbiogenesis 



I would like to thank Dr. Christian Jogler and Dr. Damien Devos for inviting me to present on the EMBO workshop, Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae Superphylum: Exceptions to the bacterial definition? The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has supported my participation. It has been a very encouraging experience and in the spirit of the presented paper to involve the arts in a scientific microbiology environment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CalgaryCanada

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