The Foetus
Glasgow - Alkmaar 2009
The Foetus
Portrait of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) and his controversial drawing of the comparative embryology.
The Foetus
The Foetus
The Foetus
The Foetus
The Foetus

Size: 250 x 200 x 90 cm

Materials: clay, slib glaze, clear glaze.

“I want something natural”, said my uncle. So, as a garden sculpture I proposed to make a giant foetus. Not just any foetus, but the archetypical foetus of vertebrate embryos, inspired by the drawings of prof. Ernst Haeckel (german zoologist, 1834 – 1919).

According the theories of Haeckel all vertebrate embryos go through a similar growing stage. Thus a human embryo resembles a chicken embryo resembles a fish embryo. This illustrates our connection through evolution, proving Darwin´s evolution theory. Haeckel´s drawings were very influential, but still remain controversial.

Some claim Haeckel manipulated the drawings, to have an “evident proof” in support of evolutionary theory, calling his work “the biggest fake in biology history.” Others defend Haeckel, maintaining his theory still holds true, however he overgeneralised his empirical findings. The giant Foetus remains a fictional creature, a scientific chimera.

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