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Artforms of Nature

Published on 18 July 2009

The nineteen century German biologist Ernst Haeckel is famous for his fantastically illustrated book Artforms of Nature. The copyright for this book from 1904 has now expired and thanks to Wikimedia Commons it is available for everyone to appreciate.

Haekel's artistic interpretation of the biological forms he studied have a clarity of symmetry and detail that has been a source of inspiration for many artists and engineers over the years. They provide the perfect subject matter for the Fractal Explorer plugin.

Astrophyton darwinium:
Astrophyton darwinium 3

Astrophyton darwinium 1

Astrophyton darwinium 2

Haeckel Astrophyton darwini

Ensifera ensifera:
Ensifera ensifera

Haeckel Ascomycetes 5

Haeckel Ascomycetes 2

Haeckel Ascomycetes

Haeckel Ascomycetes 4

Haeckel Ascomycetes 1











All images here are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

  Last updated: 18 July 2009


  • val commented at 18 July 2009 at 22:36

    (especialy the first series)

  • dvb commented at 19 July 2009 at 02:41

    Stunning! And reverent and tasteful.

  • Andrew commented at 19 July 2009 at 10:39

    Superb -- it's as though they were drawn with this use in mind!

  • Alt commented at 20 July 2009 at 12:10

    Impressive!)) I've set the ensifera birds as a background on my desktop ^.^

  • noj commented at 22 July 2009 at 00:40

    Wow!!! just wow!! wish we had pixel bender GPU acceleration in flash. we could so some amazing things thn.

  • Lucas Swick commented at 23 July 2009 at 06:13

    Very, very nice. You consistently inspire me.

  • simppa commented at 23 July 2009 at 08:24

    Lovely indeed. Too bad this cannot be used in ActionScript. Would have been nice to play with the plugin in code. Well I suppose there will be loops supported at some point.

  • raccoon2 commented at 23 July 2009 at 15:20

    wow. beautiful.

    I just found your site via a creative cow podcast that said "go and thank him for the plug in" but alas, I am an illustrator on an older mac and can't use it! But this is definitely inspiring so I thank you for that!

  • Cameron Adams commented at 7 August 2009 at 03:56

    These are so incredibly beautiful! I've never seen fractals applied to imagery like this before.

    That first picture of Aspidonia distinctly reminds me of Escher's "Angels and Devils"

  • Storm commented at 21 August 2009 at 04:47

    Amazing. Simply beautiful! Can't wait to see this sort of style in an animation.

  • John Gallagher commented at 29 August 2009 at 10:07

    Amazing images, Tom. I remember messing around with fractals on my Amiga as a teenager. 4096 colours was deemed cutting edge. Ah, those were the days...

  • ZpoonZ commented at 8 September 2009 at 21:26

    Absolutely love your stuff.

  • Govind Singh commented at 12 September 2009 at 08:06

    Amazing!! Truly said...that I once read...'Nature composes its most favourite poems for the microscopes and the telescopes!'

  • Znah commented at 29 October 2009 at 14:10

    You images inspired me to make some interactive fractal visualizations.
    You may take a look at them on Vimeo:

    and some more...

  • Tom commented at 29 October 2009 at 15:21

    Znah: great, very organic looking :)

  • Kamran commented at 5 December 2009 at 15:53

    By putting all these pictures together in one would be a cool photoshop project.
    Pheaodaria is my fav one out of all.

  • Carlo Alberto commented at 3 January 2010 at 00:22

    Many are just amazing and even close to the model

  • Travis commented at 6 March 2010 at 03:29

    Simply beautiful!

  • longsam11 commented at 18 March 2010 at 21:40

    Enchanting designs!

  • cinsel iliski commented at 26 July 2010 at 22:58

    it's as though they were drawn with this use in mind!

  • blog commented at 30 July 2010 at 12:32

    They provide the perfect subject matter for the Fractal Explorer plugin.

  • Ashwin Jain commented at 28 December 2010 at 05:10

    It's just BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • eckzimia commented at 15 April 2011 at 12:59

    this is really an informative article can i post it on my blog Trendy boy thanks