The Art of Seeing Whales: Highlights from the Elizabeth Schultz Collection, the Melville Society Archive, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Exhibition Dates: July 1st, 2014 – March 2015

Jonah Cast onto Dry Land

Marten de Vos, Jonah cast onto dry land,
16th or 17th century

This show drew on three unique collections of art and artifacts to visually describe human interaction with whales over time, and consided culture, biology and whaling history in artistic representation from the 16th to the 21st century. From religion to commerce to conservation, people have been connected to these magnificent, mysterious mammals, and artists are often the portals through whom we experience the joy, sorrow, and intellectual engagement of this relationship. This exhibition allowed us to see through their eyes the evolution of human perspectives on whales and whaling.

Much of the visual art in this exhibition was inspired by the literary art of Herman Melville, a common sailor who shipped out on the maiden voyage of the Acushnet in January 1841, a few months before the Charles W. Morgan made its maiden voyage from New Bedford harbor into the heart of the Pacific.

Photo Caption (banner) Yoshifuji Ippusai, detail of Honen Takara no Kurairi, ca. 1850.

Last modified: December 16, 2016