Beauty and Brains

A new book pays tribute to the elegance of vintage educational charts

Photo: The Art of Instruction, 2011
In The Art of Instruction, a new book of illustrated wall charts, beauty is found in unlikely places, from potato plants to jellyfish. In the early 1800s, these vibrant, graphic renderings of flora and fauna were used in schools, but were soon valued for their form borne as well as their function. Even the striking black backgrounds were rooted in purpose: to make sure that children in the back row could see the images. While these days you're more likely to finde the illustrations framed as wall decor than in a classroom, the 100 charts featured in book—collected for the first time by author Katrien Van der Schueren—are a lesson in seeking out art in the everyday.

The Art of Instruction, $35,

Click here to see the gallery for "Beauty and Brains."

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