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Art and Science in the Early Modern Netherlands

written by Eric Jorink, Bart Ramakers

Waanders Publishers | ISBN 9789040078088

Hardback – 306 pages


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Art and science are commonly considered to be two distinct expressions of human culture. This volume of the Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art is devoted to the very rich but also complex relationship between the two in the early modern Netherlands, a relationship that went much further than the use of linear perspective in painting. Both in theory and in everyday practice, the distinction between art and science was hard to sustain - and often proved to be irrelevant. The contemporary Latin terms ars and scientia were complementary rather than opposites, covering a spectrum of meanings, such as skill, experience and knowledge. In the early modern Netherlands, artists perfected the portrayal of human anatomy, natural historians reflected on the visual representation of previously unknown life-forms, and wealthy citizens possessed cabinets of curiosities in which naturalia and artificialia shared prominence. The case studies in this rich and challenging volume explore such topics as the influence of pictography, theories of vision and colour, the influence of Cartesian natural philosophy on art theory, and the allegorisation of science in Dutch frontispieces, amongst others.

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