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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


2 November 2016
Artis Library, Plantage Middenlaan 45, Amsterdam

Wrap-up by Sven Dupré at the Microscopic Practice and Visual Culture expert meeting

Museum Boerhaave in Leiden and Artis Library of the University of Amsterdam organize a one-day expert meeting which addresses the practice of microscopy in the Netherlands. The period under investigation roughly covers the era between the pioneering discoveries in the second half of the seventeenth century which established the microscope’s place in observation, and the professionalization of microscopic research associated with nineteen century discipline formation.

The expert meeting intends to look further into this period in which the growing popularization of science went hand in hand with instrumental commercialization. This being the era in which art and science still were complementary, the meeting will emphasize the close cooperation between scientists and artists in observing and representing nature.

 The meeting, though informal, aims for an active participation of all attendees. It will be held in the inspiring atmosphere of Artis Library. Talks in the morning will discuss science and early modern Dutch society; making, trading, and using microscopes; and the drawing of specimens. In the afternoon there will be hands-on sessions with historic microscopes from the collection of Museum Boerhaave and the drawings, watercolors and printed books, kept in Artis Library, which will allow us to appreciate microscopic practice from a material perspective. After the tea break we will visit ARTIS Micropia, the only museum of micro-organisms in the world, in order to learn how and why the microscopic practice of the 17th and 18th centuries are presented to the larger modern day public.

The expert meeting, co-organized by Artis Library and Museum Boerhaave, in co-operation with ARTIS Micropia, is part of a NWO Humanities-funded research project on optical culture in the early modern Netherlands and is supported by the larger research program ‘Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (ca 1560-1730)’ by HuygensING and the Rijksmuseum.

Download the full programme here