History . Natural History

A watercolour of a stranded sperm whale from the late seventeenth century

Sperm WhaleIn their article from the Archives of natural history, Klaus Barthelemess and Ingvar Svanberg discuss a painting from a manuscript album, known as Kungsboken. This contains various documents of military relevance assembled during the rule of the Swedish kings Charles XI and Charles XII.

Among them is a watercolour depicting a stranded sperm whale. The painting is not signed or dated but is believed to have been done around 1675. The article discussed why the whale was painted in such an anamorphic way and what this represents.

You can read the full article in Archives of natural history here:
http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/anh.2013.0134

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