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VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN

NATURAL HISTORY AND DISASTERS

print of animals
Fanciful flora and fauna

The beauty of the Caribbean landscape and its abundance of flora and fauna mesmerized observers of the region. Some early illustrations are fanciful, rather than naturalistic, and reflect artists' efforts to comprehend unfamiliar species.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, the flourishing of natural history as a systematic science involved extensive and finely detailed documentation of the diverse geological features, plants and animals of the region. There was also increasing publication of drawings and paintings of landscapes during this period.

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Waterfall and palms  

Landscape illustrations generally portray the Caribbean as a tranquil and harmonious world. People, if present, are featured as an integral and unobtrusive part of the landscape.

Though the Caribbean was typically represented as a natural paradise, artists and publishers also demonstrated that is was periodically threatened by volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes. Drawings and photographs of these disasters accompanied descriptive articles in the periodicals of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Artists produced horrific scenes that demonstrated the devastating effects of natural forces on the lives of Caribbean people, both on land and at sea.

Next: Government & Rebellions

VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN
The Exhibit | Overview | Exploration & Colonization | Towns & Cities
Agriculture & Rural Life | Natural History & Disasters | Government & Rebellions | Tourism

 

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