Our new permanent exhibition Aesthetics of Nature brings art and nature into dialogue through the observation and description of nature in all of its rich variety of forms and colors as we trace the history of earth and its evolution in four rooms thematizing color, form, movement and time.
The colors and patterns of the natural world surprise, enthuse and amaze us. The extravagant plumage of the male peacock, the purposeful whiteness of the polar bear’s fur, the tree bark pattern of a butterfly’s wing, or eyes inspiring fear — these are all the result of evolutionary development. Over a thousand butterflies, hundreds of birds and plentiful specimens of plants and mammals provide visitors a fascinating look at the seemingly infinite strategies and rules of camouflage and concealment, attraction and repulsion in the natural world.
The exhibit answers our questions about the function of color as allurement, disguise and warning — How does the red get into the feathers? Why can’t predators see it? What makes the humming bird’s wings iridescent? Why is the marmoset’s fur so shiny?
However, the colors of nature have not only challenged science. They have inspired the artistic and creative energies of human kind for thousands of years to search for the appropriate materials and means of reproducing and employing them. Mineral pigments, plant dyes and synthetic colorants complete the presentation of the colors of Nature and the nature of Color.