Saturday, May 10, 2014

Alexander von Humboldt in Manhattan

Alexander von Humboldt in his library (Eduard Hildebrant, 1856)
There is a small but very informative exhibit at the Americas Society concerning Alexander von Humboldt's travels in the New World, from 1799 to 1804. It traces his travels as well as his influence on painters, other travelers, and independence movements in South America.

The exhibit included a painting by the German artist Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858), on whom I reported in an earlier post. Rugendas was the subject of a novella by the Argentinian writer Cesar Aira, which documents the recent fascination of contemporary writers (e.g., Daniel Kehlmann) with Humboldt. Naturally I loved the portrait of Humboldt in his library.

Picture sources: Princeton U. Thematic Maps;

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