The Insect

On Depiction in the Art of Drawing and in Science
Jacob Hoefnagel, Insekten (Blatt 10), 1630, Kupferstich © bpk / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Volker-H. Schneider

Insects are among the earliest visual renderings created either with an artistic or ritual intention. The oldest known rendition of a beetle is a small sculpture made of coal, ca. 25,000–30,000 years old. During the Renaissance in particular, insects often appeared in painting and especially in drawing and printmaking. Both artists and scientists have always expressed the exquisite beauty of these tiny living creatures in their drawings.

This exhibition will show the fascination in these animals that since the Renaissance has resulted in wonderful, often quite meticulous drawings. Several of these works are dedicated to the unease that many of these animals can trigger in human beings. It is striking that scientific renderings of insects from the very beginning until today reveal highly artistic qualities and artistic representations have a great claim to scientific accuracy. Numerous works were created according to the motto: “To really understand what you see, draw it.”

Curators: Dr. Thomas Köllhofer, Susanna Baumgartner (assistant curator)

Artists: Joseph Beuys, Carl Josef Brodtmann, Charles Oliver Coleman, Armin Coray, Cäcilie Davidis, Barbara Regina Dietzsch, Sinje Dillenkofer, James Ensor, Max Ernst, Eugen Johann Christoph Esper, Lili Fischer, Johann Leonhard Frisch, Johann Kaspar Füssli, Herbert von Garvens, Jacques de Gheyn II, Herman Henstenburgh, Willi Geiger, Lea Grebe, Jacob Hoefnagel, Horst Janssen, Ernst Kreidolf, Christine Leins, Thomas Löhning, M + M (Marc Weis und Martin De Mattia), Cristina Gasco-Martin, Marian Merl, Heinrich Rockstroh, Anke Röhrscheid, Nana Schulz, Kiki Smith, Heinrich Rockstroh, August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof, Arnold Spuler, Johann Heinrich Sulzer, Rochus van Veen, Eva-Maria Winter


Johann Kaspar Füssli, Mantis percaria, 1775, Foto: Kunsthalle Mannheim


Barbara Regina Dietzsch, Distelzweig mit zwei Schmetterlingen, Raupe, Käfer, Libelle und Spinnweben, Ohne Jahr © bpk / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Volker-H. Schneider


Marian Merl, Hirschkäfer, Träger des Tattos: Fabian, 2022, Fotografie © Kunsthalle Mannheim


M+M (Marc Weis, Martin de Mattia), Mad Mieter, 2019, Video Loop, 6´09, Videostill, Foto: M+M



1.5 Degrees
Interdependencies between Life, the Cosmos, and Technology

Editors: Irina Danieli, Inge Herold, Johan Holten, Eva Horn, Thomas Köllhofer, Sebastian Schneider
Design by Karsten Heller
Published by Hatje Cantz, 2023
216 pages
German / English
Price 32,00 Euro in the museum shop of the Kunsthalle Mannheim

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