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José María Velasco (1840–1912), Mexico
Ensayo ornitológico de la familia Trochilidae (Ornithological Essay of the Trochilidae Family) by Rafael Montes de Oca and Manuel María Villada (Mexico City: Sociedad Mexicana de Historia Natural, 1885)

Two lithographs
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

While best known for his landscapes, early in his career José María Velasco produced many illustrations for scientific studies of Mexican flora and fauna. Descripción, metamórfosis y costumbres de una especie nueva del género Siredon was made for the Mexican Society of Natural History. Ensayo ornitológico de la familia Trochilidae, which Velasco made two illustrations for, was written by Montes de Oca and Villada, the artist’s friends and colleagues at the Society. The lithographs show multiple views of a species of hummingbird native to Mexico. As with his landscape painting, Velasco believed that the scientific study of Mexican biodiversity would help strengthen national identity.

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