donderdag 2 oktober 2014

Workshop with Yep Wiersma - part II Artis Library

Last time I really enjoyed the workshop with Yep Wiersma, so I was really excited to have the second session today!
Together with my classmates from the jewellery department, we biked to the Artis Library which is situated next to the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam. Yep arranged for us an introduction by the curator of the library, which was very exciting.
The curator started with the historical map of Amsterdam, were you could see on one side the old city wall and on the other side the harbor with all the big and small sailing ships. Only the small ones could sail into the canes to deliver the goods to the auction houses and markets. On this map you can see clearly the big green place at the north-eatstern part of the city (left side on the map) which nobody wanted to buy in the beginning. It remained green and later on this became the location for the Amsterdam zoo Artis. In early times zoo's were often used to study exotic animals, plants and insects and therefore a library could not be missing!

The Artis Library was founded between 1867 and 1872 and contains a rich collection of historical books which are free accessible for Amsterdam Students! The statement of the library is that the books shoot be used for studying, instead of just being a museum with the rich collection in a vitrine. Among the special collection are the atlases of Blaau, the famous Description de l'Egypte from Napoleons time, the early prints of M.S. Merian's Surinam Insects and the fine collection of Linnaeana; the second in the world. The website of the library contains a catalogue so you can search in advance if there is a book about the topic were you're interested in.

 It was very special to see a selection of the most important books of the library, like this one including prints of hand drawn shells. The images were so well done, including the colors, that they turn almost into 3d images when you look at it. Interesting to see were the prices of the shells. In early times exotic shells were even more expense than a painting of Rembrand!
The book above was about birds and all the different species were drawn in different positions so you could learn something about their movement. Funny to say is that the author made mistakes, like the bird on the picture above. The author made his own interpretation of what will happen with the black feathers during flying and is not based on nature studies!

The collections contains also a special archive with for example letters written by Charles Darwin himself. The curator told us that some biologists visited the library and they became a bit emotional when they could touch this documents. They were so exhausted that for the first time in their life they were so close to this famous man.

During the introduction we just had a look at the books and documents the curator presented, but if you go to the library yourself you are aloud the have a look at the books. So I definitely will come back, to get the opportunity to study old books like you can find here! For more information you can have a look at the website of Artis Library.
After this nice introduction we went to the reading room, where we made our own book collection. As a assignment everybody had to bring a book were you're interested in at the moment and it was interesting to see and hear everybody's experiences. There was a big variety of books, from novels, to art books, to a kind of comic books. Funny was to hear the animals of the zoo, true the open window. Again the workshop with Yep was a great experience! Can't wait for the next!

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