GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Classified Knowledge
Captions are drawn from exhibition descriptions by Naomi Hume, a graduate student in art history.
IMAGE:  Classified Knowledge

Egg exteriors

Jacob Theodor Klein (1685–1759). Ova avium plurimarum. Leipzig: J.J. Kanter, 1766.

Jacob Klein served as secretary of the Senate in Danzig and founded a botanical garden there. He collected natural-history objects to further his interest in taxonomy and was the first to use binomial nomenclature for molluscan classification. Klein believed that classification must be based on external characteristics and vigorously opposed the Linnean classification system because it did not adhere to this method.

Klein’s emphasis on visible elements made the illustrations in his books particularly important. In this work intended to encompass the known world of birds’ eggs in one place, the hand-colored engravings showing subtle variations of birds’ eggs allowed comparisons between different specimens.