The expression of emotions in man and animals
“Most of the more complex emotions are common to the higher animals and ourselves. Everyone has seen how jealous a dog is of his master’s affection, if lavished on any other creature; and I have observed the same fact with monkeys. This shows that animals not only love, but have the desire to be loved”.
— Charles Darwin,
The Descent of Man, 1871
“The descente of man” and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals
The books The Descent of Man and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals constitute a continuous argument focusing on man’s mental, intellectual and moral faculties. Darwin’s strategy was simple: he wanted to narrow the sense of gap between humans and animals. He presents human beings as carriers of features which were simply extensions of those found in animals and describes the animals as far more sophisticated, capable of foresight, memory, reason, imagination, love, jealousy, ability to learn from mistakes, wonder, curiosity, attention, inarticulate language, and a sense of beauty and aesthetics.
The German naturalist, embriologist and artist Ernst Haeckel was responsible for promoting and popularizing Darwin’s work in Germany. Haeckel produced numerous tree diagrams, showing evolutionary connections between distinct species. There is no consensus as to the value of these diagrams among modern scientists and science historians, though many of them praise his work and his artistic gifts. Some would argue that Haeckel was influenced by Art Nouveau, an artistic style inspired on the natural world, popular in Germany at the time. What can be said for sure is that his drawings have influenced later art forms, from designs of jewelry, furniture and architecture.