Posts Tagged ‘sea monsters’

Monsters of the sea

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Arion by Albrecht Dürer - 1514

The ocean has always been shrouded in mystery because it is almost entirely hidden. Imagine a time before submarines and scuba gear, before ships ventured beyond the horizon. People literally did not know what was out there, above or below the surface, and had to rely on stories from sailors. It’s no wonder that myths and legends grew up around the sea.

But even as the ocean was a mysterious and hazardous place, it also inspired romantic notions of adventure and discovery. Even as people conjured up visions of sea monsters, they searched the world to prove their existence. The sea represented something just out of reach, something we wanted to know better.

And now in the twenty-first century, do we know the sea better? We know a lot more than we used to, but there is so much that remains a mystery, in some ways we are still like our ancestors, groping around in the dark.

Here are some images from artists long ago trying to depict the creatures of the sea. They come from a wonderful website called Strange Science where you can see more such monstrosities. These days we can photograph any animal we like, though an artist’s depiction can sometimes tell you a lot more, even those that come entirely from the artist’s imagination. Today we still try to imagine the things we cannot see, and probably always will.

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