The Gibbes Museum

Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — the Black Snake

Monday, June 19, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — the Black Snake

THIS WATERCOLOR stands out in several ways. One way is how Catesby has the snake itself “standing” out, as though it has lifted one quarter of its body into the air—which I have never seen a black snake do in quite this manner. It could be that this was Catesby’s way of bringing to life... Read »

Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Little Thrush and the Dahoon Holly

Sunday, June 11, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Little Thrush and the Dahoon Holly

ONE OF THE FINEST PAIRS worth examining in this exhibition is the watercolor sketch and later etching of “The Little Thrush and the Dahoon Holly.” Together they demonstrate how Catesby observed, what his intentions seem to have been, and how he adjusted his art and science to complement each other. Sometimes an artist’s initial sketch captures... Read »

Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Blue Jay and the Bay-Leaved Smilax

Friday, May 26, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Blue Jay and the Bay-Leaved Smilax

THE BLUE JAY is a bothersome bird. It’s noisy and aggressive, and even known to rob eggs from other birds’ nests. And once again, Catesby has beautifully captured not just the species but its personality. In this watercolor, he portrays the jay leaning down, pressing forward, and screeching, with its furry crown tossed back, its tongue extended, and... Read »

Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Porgy

Thursday, May 25, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — The Porgy

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I usually find it hard looking at pictures of fish. The one on top here had also received a lot of press during promotion for the Gibbes exhibit, so I thought I had had enough of it. As I prowled the paintings, I could feel my reluctance to give it much time.... Read »

Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — the Ghost Crab and a Spider

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at the Gibbes — the Ghost Crab and a Spider

THIS DOUBLE STUDY of a crab and spider holds more than double fascination. It shows how Catesby observed as a scientist and how he worked as an artist. It also demonstrates two distinct approaches to watercolor design. And it beautifully compares two creatures with juxtaposing views of one from the front and one from above. Something... Read »

Mark Catesby at The Gibbes — The Little Owl

Monday, May 22, 2017
by Peter Ingle
Mark Catesby at The Gibbes — The Little Owl

NO KNOWN PORTRAITS of English naturalist Mark Catesby (1682–1749) exist, but if you look carefully you’ll see him in each of the watercolors and etchings now on exhibit at the Gibbes. If a portrait of Catesby is ever found, I also suspect it will resemble this exquisite rendering of an owl—which you may find watching you as you... Read »

It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
~ Johann Goethe

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