GNSI-DC: Jan. Meeting
Event Date: January 20, 2016 - 5:30pm


Disorder is systematically organized: Pre-Darwinian evolutionary theory in the art of J.J. Grandville J.J.

Grandville was an early- to mid-nineteenth-century French graphic artist who is best known for his depictions of animals and for his dreamlike, “proto-Surrealist” imagery. Grandville's strange illustrations of invertebrates were heavily criticized by his contemporaries and have been largely overlooked by art historians, who have focused instead on his depictions of vertebrates. However, his invertebrates – particularly his beetles – illustrate fascinating, long-forgotten, now-discredited aspects of the evolutionary theory before Darwin. Grandville used his scientific illustration skills to imbue bizarre creatures with realistic qualities, giving life to the heretical ideas of early evolutionists.

Sandra R. Schachat is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow and has been a researcher in the Smithsonian Department of Paleobiology since 2010. Her work combines insect evolution and visual evidence in various ways: she has studied the evolution of moth and butterfly wing patterns, has examined fossil leaves for evidence of insect feeding, and has explored how the history of art can be used to understand evolving societal attitudes toward insects. She received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Maryland in 2013 and is currently working on an M.S. in Entomology at Mississippi State University. Her refereed publications include seven articles on ecology and evolution and two articles on the relationship between art and science in nineteenth-century Europe.

Smithsonian Natural History Museum
10th St. & Constitution Ave., Washington, DC.
Room WG-33 (1st Floor, West Wing)

All visitors must wait for an escort in the Constitution Avenue lobby between 5:30 and 6:10 p.m. (about every 15 minutes)

— 5:30 p.m. for snacks and socializing (Please bring a food item to share, or $3.00 for the donation jar.)
— 6:00 p.m. Business and announcements
— 6:10 p.m. (approx.) Presentation begins

For pictures and parking information visit:


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