Visualizing Science Forschungsgruppe Fransen

Media and Techniques

The images in the books discussed in this exhibit were made using a range of printmaking techniques that developed and expanded over the course of the more than three centuries covered by this exhibition. Examples of woodcut, engraving, and etching are each represented. These distinct print media allowed for different, but complementary expressions of scientific …

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Visualizing Forces

Elemental, divine, magical, astronomical, magnetic or mechanical forces, to name just a few, were omnipresent in the life of early modern people. With the growing number of books made for the purpose of pedagogy and scientific communication, and the important role of images in these books, the question of how one could bring these forces to …

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Visualizing Harmony

It is obvious, Athanasius Kircher declared in his voluminous Musurgia universalis (Rome, 1650), that nature is ordered harmonically. To describe this harmony he uses the term “natural music,” by which he includes the harmony of the heavens, the elements, and the human body. Only “artificial music” is actually sounding music. By viewing harmony as an …

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Visualizing Scale

How can we picture scale? In a text we can use descriptions filled with adjectives or comparisons to allow the reader to imagine the actual size of the object in question. However when making an image – be it in drawing or print – a series of different strategies are needed to convey size and …

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Visualizing Seeing and Hearing

How does vision work? How does sound arrive to our ears? And how can one visualize these sensory perceptions convincingly to a diverse readership, that might see and hear things differently? These questions became increasingly pertinent in the early modern period. With the introduction of instruments such as the microscope and telescope, the senses were transformed …

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Visualizing Scientific Practice

Expertise is predicated on cumulative experience. In order to make informed observations or develop scientific know-how individuals had to become active practitioners. It was embodied knowledge that served as the basis of scientific practice. Why then, did authors choose to include illustrations of practitioners at work in their treatises? In some cases like, Fra Giocondo’s …

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