Friedrich Heinrich Alexander, Baron Humboldt(1769-1859), German naturalist
Sitter in 2 portraits
A pioneer of modern geography, Humboldt studied a vast range of subjects from botany and mineralogy to history and chemistry before he set out in 1799 on a five-year voyage of discovery to the New World, which he described in numerous, lavishly illustrated publications. In 1829 Humboldt, then 60 years old, left again, on a journey across Russia and central Asia at the invitation of the Tsar. He spent the last 25 years of his life writing Cosmos, a 5-volume encyclopaedia in which he developed the unity of all natural and human phenomena.