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CARVALHO, Alcimar do Lago. Foreword. Figura: Studies on the Classical Tradition, Campinas, SP, v. 7, n. 1, p. 5–7, 2019. DOI: 10.20396/figura.v7i1.9937. Disponível em: Acesso em: 15 apr. 2024.


From its beginnings, humanity has lived intensely with the insects, which are prevailing forms of life in the terrestrial environment, comprising fourfifths of all of the animals on the earth, with more than one million species. Relations of good and evil, established over millennia with these small or even minute animals, are duly enshrined in stereotyped symbols in the imaginary of the Christian West in the centuries preceding the Industrial Revolution. Representations of beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, bees and flies, although very frequent in the artistic expressions of all time and civilizations, have been sparingly recorded and considered in studies of the image. When properly evaluated, such small iconographic details bring to the surface much of the knowledge and imagery of the humanity of yesterday and even today. The proposed interdisciplinary dossier “Insects, Art and Science in the Modern and Contemporary Ages”, in which Zoology joins the History of Art, intends to highlight the importance of these small animals in the western iconography and demonstrate the potential of their proper consideration. The omnipresence of these “miraculous reductions of the mystery and magic of grand divine design” 3 will be treated here conceptually in analogy with the notions of micro- and macrocosm, in which the detail holds a key to the understanding of the whole. This dossier consists of six articles that clearly exemplify the different views on the representation of these animals, from the simple record to the formalized treatment of deep iconographic issues, where their presence, usually ignored, can makes us reconsider well-established academic concepts. The sequential disposition of the articles follows the chronological order of the production to which it refers, covering works produced between the 15th and 20th centuries.
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