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Fallen Angels: Birds of Paradise in Early Modern Europe

- April 4, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, birds, birds of paradise, conrad gesner, conrad gessner, Religion, Myth & Legend, Ulisse Aldrovandi

When birds of paradise first arrived to Europe, as dried specimens with legs removed, they were seen in almost mythical terms — as angelic beings forever airborne, nourished by dew and the "nectar" of sunlight. Natalie Lawrence looks at how European naturalists of the 16th and 17th centuries attempted to make sense of these entirely novel and exotic creatures from the East.