The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 25, 2004 - Art - 367 pages
Since the time of Aristotle, the making of knowledge and the making of objects have generally been considered separate enterprises. Yet during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the two became linked through a "new" philosophy known as science. In The Body of the Artisan, Pamela H. Smith demonstrates how much early modern science owed to an unlikely source-artists and artisans.

From goldsmiths to locksmiths and from carpenters to painters, artists and artisans were much sought after by the new scientists for their intimate, hands-on knowledge of natural materials and the ability to manipulate them. Drawing on a fascinating array of new evidence from northern Europe including artisans' objects and their writings, Smith shows how artisans saw all knowledge as rooted in matter and nature. With nearly two hundred images, The Body of the Artisan provides astonishingly vivid examples of this Renaissance synergy among art, craft, and science, and recovers a forgotten episode of the Scientific Revolution-an episode that forever altered the way we see the natural world.

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About the author (2004)

Pamela H. Smith is the Edwin F. and Margaret Hahn Professor in the Social Sciences and associate professor of history at Pomona College. She is the author of The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire and coeditor of Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe.

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