Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe
“This research group investigates how artists invented and appropriated knowledge, conceived and categorized knowledge, and transmitted and circulated knowledge in the visual and decorative arts in the pre-modern period. Did they distinguish artists’ knowledge from other types of knowledge, and if so, what kind of knowledge did they consider within their remit? How did the epistemic requirements for artists change between 1350 and 1750? Was this connected to the training and education of artists and to art theory? How was knowledge shared between artists and patrons, and which role did knowledge play in the collecting of art?
The production of objects of art is based on diverse fields of knowledge, from history to theology, from knowledge of materials and techniques to mathematics, from natural history to anatomy, from optics to alchemy. This research group is writing an epistemic history of art that focuses on the mediation of the circulation of knowledge within the artists’s workshop and beyond as it travelled in other domains more familiar to historians of science, medicine and technology. By focusing on the epistemic dimensions of the production and consumption of art this project readdresses the long-standing question in the history of science on the contribution of the arts to the emergence of early modern science. ….”