John James Audubon

John James Audubon was a wildlife artist who pioneered using art in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Though his contributions to art, culture, and science are many, his legacy is a complicated one, and several conservation organizations that carry his name are changing them in light of evidence of racism and fraud. He began drawing birds as a hobby, but when his business went bankrupt, he changed course and set himself the task of documenting North America’s birds. The result is The Birds of America, a collection of 435 life-sized watercolors reproduced from hand-engraved plates in Audubon’s signature dramatic style that is still the standard to which bird artists are held today.