Artistic interpretations of sea life, birds, and reptiles
Between the beginning of the Scientific Revolution (which began in the mid-17th century) and the early-19th Century movement towards dry and clinical accuracy in both anatomical and zoological illustrations, there was a period of extravagance, showiness, and artistic expression in the sciences.
Instead of being solely geared towards other scientists, the artists sought to entice the general public and show off their vast collections, in many of their works. This can be seen in the medical illustrations of Frederick Ruysch, as well as here, in the zoological illustrations of Albertus Seba.
[h/t to Biodiversity Library’s blog for tipping me off to the interesting connections between two collections already in my archive]
Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descripto, tome II & III. Albetus Seba, 1735.