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Materialised Knowledge in Renaissance Art and Science: The Production and Representation of Flemish Scientific Instruments

Lecture | March 6 | 5 p.m. | 308A Doe Library


Koenraad Van Cleempoel, Faculty of Architecture in Hasselt University (Belgium)

Institute of European Studies


Scientific instruments of the renaissance period well represent the concept of "materialised knowledge." They are carriers of ideas as well as very elegant and refined objects. The lecture will discuss astrolabes, globes, sundials and armillary spheres with a particular emphasis on the Flemish context: between c. 1525 and c. 1580 the university city of Louvain became Europe's most important center for instrument making partly due to the research and technical skills of Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) and Gemma Frisius (1508-1555). This high reputation is due in equal measure to the combination of the beauty and the precision of these instruments. It is this perfect harmony of aesthetics and science that made the Louvain instruments so sought after in the European market. The lecture will also discuss their representation and meaning in contemporary paintings.


deoadao@berkeley.edu, 510-643-0980