Carl Linnaeus and Systema Naturae

April 26, 2012

I made this portrait of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus a couple of years (yikes?!) ago. I recently had a couple of people interested in the painting, but it's gone, so I decided to make a very small print edition of it. Currently there are only a couple left, but if interested you may get the print here.

It's hard to imagine many scientists that have had the kind of long standing influence that individuals like Darwin and Linnaeus have had. Linnaeus is known as the father of modern taxonomy. His book Systema Naturae, published around 1735, is considered the beginnings of zoological nomenclature as we know it today. Although Linnaeus was not the first one to develop a binomial nomenclature system for flora and fauna, he was the first to use it exclusively. Before Systema Naturae, zoological nomenclature was a messy, unwieldy business.

I love Linnaeus. I hope to visit his home and garden in Uppsala someday. Something that I learned about him recently, that further endeared, was that when he was young he spent time amongst the Sami people. He went on expedition to Lapland in hopes of discovering 'new' plants and herbs, but he was also keenly interested in the Sami and their culture. I've always been very interested in the Sami, but only recently have begun to read up on them. I love this image of Linnaeus in traditional Sami dress, and holding a plant.


  1. Fascinating stuff, anything Swedish seems fascinating to me, I must make it there soon, I wrote my thesis on Carl Larsson, and liased with the museum there. Your print is lovely and 'gone'. Been watching nesting Perigrine falcons with their 4 chicks on Nottingham trent university website, what a privelege! :)

  2. Yes! Sweden is beautiful, of course. You have no excuse. You live much closer to it than I do! ; )


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