1st Edition

Knowledge and Discernment in the Early Modern Arts

Edited By Sven Dupré, Christine Göttler Copyright 2017
    342 Pages 23 Color & 88 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    358 Pages 23 Color & 88 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In early modern Europe, discernment emerged as a key notion at the intersection of various domains in both learned and artisanal cultures. Often used synonymously with judgment, ingenuity, and taste, discernment defined the ability to perceive and understand the secrets of nature and art, and became explicitly connected with a kind of knowledge available only to experts in the respective fields. With contributions by historians of art and historians of science, and with geographic coverage focusing on the Low Countries and their multiple connections to different parts of the world, this volume reframes recent scholarship on what the editors term ’cultures of knowledge and discernment’ in the early modern period. The collection is innovative in its focus on investigating types of knowledge linked to what was then called the ’science’ (scientia) of art, to artistic expertise and connoisseurship, and to ’secrets of art and nature.’

    Table of Contents

    Notes on Contributors

    Introduction: Hidden Artifices
    Sven Dupré and Christine Göttler


    Part I: Sites of Discernment

    1 Transforming Nature into Art: Fall of the Rebel Angels (1562) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

    Tine Luk Meganck

    2 Vulcan’s Forge: The Sphere of Art in Early Modern Antwerp

    Christine Göttler

    Part II: Artifices and Imitation

    3 Superb Craftsmanship in Antwerp: Baroque Goldsmiths’ Work in Competition with the Visual Arts

    Lorenz Seelig

    4 The Veronica according to Zurbarán: Painting as Figura, and Image as Vestigio

    Felipe Pereda

    5 ‘The Various Natures of Middling Colours We May Learne of Painters’. Sir Kenelm Digby Looks at Rubens and Van Dyck

    Karin Leonhard  

    Part III: Secrets and Knowledge

    6 Oil Painting as a Workshop Secret: On Calumnies, Legends, and Critical Investigations

    Oskar Bätschmann

    7 Peiresc in the Parisian ‘Jewel House’
    Peter N. Miller 

    8 Germanic Antiquity in Rembrandt’s Circle

    Thijs Weststeijn

    Part IV: Mechanical Science and Technique

    9 Rembrandt and Painting as a Mechanical Science in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Art

    Jan Blanc

    10 From Mechanism to Technique: Diderot, Chardin, and the Practice of Painting
    Paul Taylor



    Sven Dupré is Professor of History of Art, Science and Technology at the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Christine Göttler is Professor of Art History at the University of Bern, Switzerland.