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The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution
In The Body of the Artisan, Pamela H. Smith demonstrates how much early modern science owed to an unlikely source: artists and artisans. Goldsmiths, locksmiths, carpenters, and painters were all sought after by early scientists for their intimate, hands-on knowledge of natural materials, as well as their ability to manipulate them. Drawing on a fascinating array of new evi ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 15th 2006 by University Of Chicago Press
(first published January 1st 2003)
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The book explores the interaction between the fine arts and early science; Smith does a wonderful job linking philosophy, artistic inspiration, and the materials used in the Renaissance and early modern periods. Beyond that, it has taken a special place in my large collection of non-fiction history books; one of a dozen or so that I will periodically re-read for the pure enjoyment of it.
Jul 09, 2011 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it it was amazing
I loved this book beyond measure, and I am considering writing my first letter to a living author to thank them for their contribution to my life. This is a scholarly work, but far from inaccessible to the lay person. I have added a shelf to accommodate it-art history, in which I am far better read than my Goodreads shelves might indicate. With that acknowledged, this book explores the intersection of alchemy and art, and makes a strong case for exploring the history of science from a more inclu ...more
I love this book! Pamela Smith writes elegantly and clearly. Her examination of the intersection between art and science in the early modern period is compelling. This book has prompted me to ask some historical questions of my own, such as how did Italian artisans contribute to the Scientific Revolution? I love the visuals as well, a welcome feature in any history book.
Smith's book is the kind of work that really inspires me. She beautifully examines art and artisanry as a form of vernacular science. By looking at ordinary people instead of the "Great Men of Science," she is getting closer to the actual knowledge-gathering of the early modern period.
Mar 16, 2007 Megan rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Recommends it for: art/social historians
A really beautiful book (and amazingly inexpensive for that) containing a very insightful analysis of the relationship between artisanry and science in early modern Europe.