Louis Hess is an Art Director/Designer w/ INKLAB at SaatchNY. This is the second of his quarterly feature called Sources of Inspiration. Each post will feature points of inspiration, highlighting great resources for sparking the creative mind.
Taschen is a publisher of painting, design, fashion, architecture, and photography books founded by Benedikt Taschen from Cologne, Germany in 1980 and a Lovemark of mine. Most of their breathtaking reproductions are available at reasonable prices but they have also published one of the most expensive books in publishing history, the $15,000, 75 pound, 700 page GOAT (Greatest of All Time), a tribute to the American boxer Muhammad Ali which Der Spiegel called “the biggest, heaviest, most radiant thing ever printed in the history of civilization.”
Below are a few tomes in my collection and short description of them from Taschen. Filled with hand drawn typography and painstaking meticulous illustrations—it’s a great reminder that nothing is impossible when it’s a labor of love.
Andreas Cellarius—Harmonia Macrocosmica
This collection of celestial maps by Dutch-German mathematician and cosmographer Andreas Cellarius (c. 1596 – 1665) brings back to life a masterpiece from the Golden Age of celestial cartography. First published in 1660 in the Harmonia Macrocosmica, the complete 29 double-folio maps and dozens of unusual details reproduced here depict the world systems of Claudius Ptolemy, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe, the motions of the sun, the moon, and the planets, and the delineation of the constellations in various views.
Atlas Maior—Robert van Gent
The finest and most comprehensive baroque atlas was Joan Blaeu’s exceptional Atlas Maior, completed in 1665. The original 11-volume Latin edition, containing 594 maps Covering Arctica, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America, Blaeu’s Atlas Maior was a remarkable achievement and remains to this day one of history’s finest examples of mapmaking.
Walter Ford—Pancha Tantra
At first glance of Pancha Tantra, Walton Ford’s a large-scale, highly-detailed watercolors of animals may recall the prints of 19th century illustrators John James Audubon and Edward Lear, and others of the colonial era. But a closer look reveals a complex and disturbingly anthropomorphic universe, full of symbols, sly jokes, and allusions to the ‘operatic’ nature of traditional natural history themes.
Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery Atlas of Anatomy
In 1830, having received his doctorate in medicine three years prior, Bourgery began work on his magnificent Atlas of Anatomy in cooperation with illustrator Nicolas Henri Jacob (1782–1871), a student of the French painter Jacques Louis David. The first volumes were published the following year, but completion of the treatise required nearly two decades of dedication; Bourgery lived just long enough to finish his labor of love, but the last of the treatise’s eight volumes was not published in its entirety until five years after his death.
Albertus Seba Cabinet of Natural Curiosites
Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though scientists of his era often collected natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) was unrivaled in his passion. His amazing collection of animals, plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Taschen’s amazing work, be sure to visit their New York store at 107 Greene Street.