- Department: History of Art
- Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jeanne Nuechterlein
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: H
- Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
- See module specification for other years: 2023-24
This module investigates the interconnections between visual imagery and scientific and other forms of knowledge in Europe c. 1400-1700.
Students who have taken the I-level version of Images as Knowledge in Early Modern Europe are prohibited from taking the H-version of the same module.
|Semester 2 2024-25
How people understood the structures and operations of the material world changed considerably in Europe between the late medieval and modern periods. Expanded networks of travel and trade, the invention and dissemination of printed text and images, and the creation of new instruments went hand in hand with conceiving the structure of matter and why things look the way they do. Visual imagery played a central role in many arenas of study, not merely as a reflection or embodiment of knowledge, but as itself a means of investigation and interpretation.
This module explores the interconnections between how people thought about the material world and how artists conceived of representation and craft making between about 1400 and 1700. It will focus on Europe but may include comparisons with other parts of the world. By closely analysing the construction and design of various “scientific” or “epistemic” images within the context of contemporary knowledge, we gain insights into how the visual arrangement of forms could communicate ideas and shape understanding about the world and its material components. Potential topics may include cartography, botany, astronomy/cosmology, anatomy, zoology.
By the end of the module, students should have acquired:
Knowledge of a range of “scientific” images made in Europe between about 1400 and 1700
Understanding of how the processes of making and designing visual images related to ideas about the world’s material structure and operations
Ability to analyse the significance of the construction of images in fields such as cartography, astronomy, botany, anatomy and/or zoology
Ability to identify and critically evaluate new source material through independent research
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