In the early 1950s Hamilton was interested in the formal qualities of the scientific images of the natural world. This is one of a series of prints which Hamilton produced immediately prior to his work on the exhibition 'Growth and Form' which he curated for the ICA. The exhibition displayed scientific films, photographs, photomicrographs and models and was based on the ideas of D'Arcy Wentworth's book Growth and Form. Wentworth had written 'I know that in the material study of material things, number, order and position are the threefold clues to exact knowledge' and explored how the knowledge of form was the key to understanding in both science and art. By displaying the images without explanatory labels the show focused attention on the formal qualities of scientific material. Equally the show emphasised how the invention of new scientific optical machinery had simultaneously extended the scientists knowledge of form and revealed a new visual environment for the artist. This print relies on the progression of repeated motifs to create structure and composition and has links with Wentworth's ideas that the mechanics of growth determined form and that mathematical structures could be found in all organisms.
Microcosmos (Plant Cycle) by Richard Hamilton
Lit: Herbert Read, Foreward to Growth and Form, Exhib Catalogue, ICA, 1951
Waddington Graphics, Richard Hamilton Prints: A Complete Catalogue of Graphic Works 1939-1983, Stuttgart and London: Waddington Graphics: Edition Hansjorg Mayer, 1984.
|Material:||etching, drypoint, aquatint, engraving and punches on paper|
|Measurements:||Sheet: 289 x 411 mm
Plate: 226 x 176 mm|
|Technique:||etching, drypoint, aquatint, engraving and punches|
|Location:||College Art Collections, University College London (Slade School Collections)|
|Rights owner:||Richard Hamilton|
|Rights status:||UK HE use only|
|Institution:||Slade School of Art|
|Notes:||Signed and numbered 6/20 in pencil|