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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


28 April 2017
15:00 - 16:30
Seminar Room, Learning Centre, National Museums Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF

Lecture by Sven Dupré: ‘Technologies of the Connoisseur: Visual Expertise & the Practice of Art History’, 28 April at National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

Technologies of the Connoisseur: Visual Expertise and the Practice of Art History

In this lecture, part of the Understanding Technologies series, Professor Sven Dupré of Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam discusses how technology has changed our understanding of art history since the early 20th century.

In the first decades of the 20th century the practice of art history was based upon visual expertise acquired by training of the connoisseur’s eye. This knowledge depended upon innate talent and a good memory of form, color and line. The eye of apprentice art historians also needed to be trained by attentively and repetitively looking at paintings, supported by travel visiting as many collections and museums as possible, and by critically comparing the works of art. However, besides the use of photography to assist the memory of the art historian, some connoisseurs saw no use of methods of scientific analysis or visual technologies. Others have responded that new ways of scientifically examining art in the laboratory require students of art history to learn new ways of seeing.

Understanding Technology is a series of public lectures presenting leading international research and ideas in the history, philosophy, politics and sociology of technology. In cooperation with the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh.