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Seminar 14

Visual Culture, the Natural World and Technology


Seminar questions

  1. How was nature incorporated into art?
  2. How much did art help in the classification of the natural world?
  3. “The scientific revolution would have been impossibile without the support of the visual arts”. Discuss
  4. In what ways were the arts instrumental in the transmission of technical knowledge?


Suggested reading

Alpers, Svetlana, The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century, Chicago-London 1983 [ND 646.A5]


Baldasso, Renzo, ‘The Role of Visual Representation in the Scientific Revolution: A Historiographic Inquiry’, Centaurus, 42 (2006), pp. 69-88


DaCosta Kaufmann, Thomas, The Mastery of Nature. Art, Science, and Humanism in the Renaissance, Princeton 1993 [CB 361.K2], chs. 1, 5-6


Davis, Natalie Zemon, Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth Century Lives, Harvard 1997, chapter on Maria Sybilla Merian, pp. 140-202


Edgerton jr., Samuel, The Heritage of Giotto’s Geometry: Art and Science on the Eve of the Scientific Revolution, Ithaca 1991 [N 7430.5.3]


Eichberger, Dagmar, ‘Naturalia and Artefacta: Durer’s Nature Drawings and Early Collecting’, in Durer and His Culture, eds. D. Eichberger and C. Zika, Cambridge 1998, pp. 13-37 [ND 588.D9]

Ellenius, Allen (ed), The Natural Sciences and the Arts: Aspects of Interaction from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century, Uppsala 1985


Farago, Claire J. (ed), Leonardo’s Projects, c. 1500-1519, New York-London 1999 [ND 623.L3]


Field, Judith V., The Invention of Infinity: Mathematics and Arts in the Renaissance, Oxford 1997 [N 7430.5.F4]


Freedberg, David, ‘Science, Commerce, and Art: Neglected Topics at the Junction of History and Art History’, in Art in History. History in Art. Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Culture, ed. D. Freedberg and J. de Vries, Santa Monica, CA, 1991, pp. 376-428

Goldgar, Anne, Tulipmania. Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age, Chicago 2007


Jones, Caroline – Galison, Peter, Picturing Science Producing Art, New York 1998 [N 72.S3]


Keller, Alex, ‘Renaissance Theaters of Machines’, Technology and Culture, 9 (1978), pp. 495-508


Kemp, Martin, Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man, London 1981 [ND 623.L3]

Kemp, Martin, ‘”The Mark of Truth”: Looking and Learning in Some Anatomical Illustrations from the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century’, in Medicine and the Five Senses, eds. W.F. Bynum and R. Porter, Cambridge 1993, pp. 85-121 [R 131.M3]


Kemp, Martin, “’Wrought By No Artist’s Hand: The Natural, the Artificial, the Exotic, and the Scientific in Some Artifacts from the Renaissance”, in Farago, Claire J. (ed), Reframing the Renaissance: Visual Culture in Europe and Latin America, New Haven-London 1995, pp. 177-196


Kusukawa, Sachiko, ‘Leonhart Fuchs on the Importance of Pictures’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 58 (1997), pp. 403-427 [Project Muse]

Lazzaro, Claudia, ‘Animals as Cultural Signs: A Medici Menagerie in the Grotto at Castello’, in Reframing the Renaissance: Visual Culture in Europe and Latin America 1450-1650, New Haven-London 1995, pp. 197-227 [N 6370.R3]


Lefèvre, Wolfgang, Picturing Machines 1400-1700, Boston MIT 2004


Prager, Frank D. – Scaglia, Gustina, Brunelleschi. Studies of his Technology and Inventions, Cambridge (Mass.) 1970 (reprinted in Mineola, NY, 2004) [TA 140.B7]


Reeves, Eileen, Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo, Princeton 1997 [ND 1460.A8]


Reeves, Eileen, ‘The New Sciences and the Visual Arts’, in A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art, eds. B. Bohn and J.M. Saslow, Oxford 2013, pp. 316-330


Rossi, Paolo, Philosophy, Technology, and the Arts in the Early Modern Era, New York 1970


Santillana, Giorgio, ‘The Role of Art in the Scientific Renaissance’, in Critical Problems in the History of Science, ed. Marshall Clagett, Madison, Wisconsin, 1959, pp. 33-65 [Q 125.I6]


Schama, Simon, ‘Perishable Commodities: Dutch Still-Life Painting and the “Empire of Things”’, in Consumption and the World of Goods, eds. John Brewer and Roy Porter, London 1993, pp. 478-488 [HS 2200.C6]


Schultz, Bernard, Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy, Ann Arbor 1985 [N 6915.S2]


Shirley, J. – Hoeniger, F. (eds), Science and the Arts in the Renaissance, Washington, D.C., 1985


Smith, Pamela H. – Findlen, Paula (eds), Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, eds. P.H. Smith and P. Findlen, New York-London 2002 [N 72.M3]


Smith, Pamela H., The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution, Chicago 2004