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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


14 December 2016
Hauptgebäude, Hörsaal II - Philosophische Fakultät, Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften und Moderneforschung, Universität zu Köln

Sven Dupré will give a lecture on ‘The Materiality of Renaissance Perspective’, 14 December 2016 at the University of Cologne

The background to this lecture is Sven Dupré ‘s conviction that we should consider the polysemy of perspective associated with the practice of perspective. The ways in which Panofsky’s “Perspective as Symbolic Form” continues to shape the historiography of perspective up until the present day blackboxes the various uses and meanings of Renaisssance perspective across different sites of appropriation of optical knowledge. Against this background, in this lecture Dupré will show how writing and reading practices in the Renaissance, that is, the materiality of texts on optics and perspective, contributed to artists’ establishment as experts based on their knowledge of the secrets of vision. Most artist-readers, like other artisanal or vernacular readers, engaged with texts in a piecemeal fashion. Also, they were more likely to encounter optics cut and past as parts of recipe collections or books of secrets, which flooded the print market in the sixteenth century. Recipes and secrets were transforming vehicles for the transmission of optics. In this process of transformation, optical knowledge was decontextualized and theories of light and vision disappeared in the background. The emphasis of the secrets was on the manipulation of objects and instruments (glass spheres and mirrors in camera obscura settings) to create particular optical effects. In contrast to Panofsky, and acknowledging the polysemy of perspective, the materiality of the texts on perspective constructed a particular definition of perspective similar to Dürer’s “Messung”.

Am 15. Dezember bietet Sven Dupré einen öffentlichen Workshop an, in dem die Vortragsthemen vertieft werden (10:00-11:30 Uhr, Seminargebäude S 14); Anmeldung: lea.perraudin(at)uni-koeln.de