Fernando G. Baptista

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The Malaspina Expedition, an illustrated scientific journey

In 1789, the scientific exploration voyage began, commanded by the Spanish naval officer of Italian origin Alejandro Malaspina and JoseĢ de Bustamante y Guerra. The expedition was funded by the Spanish government and originally pursued strictly scientific goals.

For five years, Malaspina and his crew sailed in two ships, Descubierta (Discovery) and Atrevida (Daring). It explored the coasts of South America and sailed north along the Pacific coast all the way to Alaska, going on to visit the Philippines, New Guinea, New Zea- land and Australia, discovering, cataloguing and analyzing flora, fauna, seas, people and lands, it was with little doubt the most ambitious 18th-century scientific expedition.

The expedition’s artistic works were created by a group of drawers, including professional artists who depicted reality using pencils and brushes. Their collection comprises over 800 drawings and watercolors. The sculpture shows one of these artists working on the field, sketching and collecting all kind of specimens, they were predecessors off the scientific illustrator of our time.