Search the Collection
Advanced Search

2ème Ordee CETACES. PECHE de la BALIENE franche (Balaena mysticetus)

Date: 1789
Overall: 339 x 407 mm, 240 g
Medium: Ink on paper, mylar, card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00019664
Place Manufactured:France

User Terms

    This black and white print depicts a baleen whale being hunted by two open boats of whalers. The whale is seen above the surface spouting water, waving its tail flukes, and showing its large sheets of baleen. Each of the boats has four oarsmens and a harpooner at the bow. In the distance is a three-masted ship, and icebergs.
    SignificanceThis print is an important record of European illustrations of whales in the late 19th and early 19th centuries, and demonstrates the unfolding scientific knowledge of them. The use of the terms 'Balaena' and 'Mysticetus' to describe the whale species reflects the state of knowledge of whale taxonomy during this time.
    HistoryEuropean scientific knowledge of whales was a slowly evolving process. Whales were commonly sighted along the European coasts and occasionally seen stranded, however early published illustrations of the animal show a mythical monster-like creature - sometimes depicted with horns spouting water. 'Arm chair' natural history artists did not draw from life, rather they used descriptions given by explorers, scientists and publishers. Many of their works were copied from earlier drawings and offered only slightly different interpretations of the previous studies. By the 18th century the increasingly popular natural histories saw a move from mythical to scientific depictions of whales.

    The late 18th century European voyages of discovery pushed beyond the existing fringes of European settlement, and continued to explore unknown lands and beyond established sea routes. These voyages excited the scientific community with the documentation of exotic or previously unknown species. Naturalists, landscape artists, natural history artists and field assistants accompanied explorers on these voyages. The artists produced thousands of sketches and paintings of both plants and animals, from sea and land.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: 2ème Ordee CETACES. PECHE de la BALIENE franche (Balaena mysticetus)

    Primary title: 2ème Ordee CETACES. PECHE de la BALIENE franche (Balaena mysticetus)

    Related People
    Engraver: Fournier

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.