Conference Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries

On 17 and 18 September 2015, Amsterdam is to host the conference ‘Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (ca 1560-1730)’, organized by the Rijksmuseum and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands.

logo Prior to the eighteenth century, ‘art’ and ‘science’ were often considered complementary, rather than opposite, expressions of human culture. They enlightened one another: through comparable curiosity, knowledge and observation of the world, but also in their resulting products: paintings, prints, books, maps, anatomical preservations, life casts, and many others. Scholars, craftsmen and artists often engaged in observing and representing nature, in close cooperation.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, it was the Low Countries that emerged as a center of artistic and scientific innovation and creativity, and as central points in the exchange of goods, knowledge and skill. It is certainly no coincidence that the outburst of artistic productivity in the Netherlands, both the South and the North, coincided with the ‘Scientific Revolution’.

hart Anatomical study of a human heart, attributed to Jan l' Admiral, 1700 - 1750The conference Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries wants to contribute to the dialogue between experts in the history of art, historians of science, and all those interested in the visual and material culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Netherlands. The conference focuses on historical objects, images, works of art or texts that represent the combination of art and science, and looks at their origin and intended audience. Sessions are, amongst others, devoted to the culture of collecting; modes of representing living nature; the influence of new optical devices on the arts; and the impact of travels abroad on representations of the world.

Although the emphasis of the conference will be on the Low Countries, both the South and the North, several contributions also include developments elsewhere in Europe. This way, it aims at offering a broad overview of the way in which art and science came together in the early modern Low Countries.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University, New York
  • Alexander Marr, University of Cambridge

Programme and abstracts

Download conference programme and abstracts

Organizing committee:

Eric Jorink and Ilja Nieuwland (Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, The Hague), Jan de Hond, Gregor Weber, Gijs van der Ham and Pieter Roelofs (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Scientific committee:

Joanna Woodall (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London), Karin Leonhard (Universität Konstanz), Tim Huisman (Museum Boerhaave Leiden)

For more information please contact:
Ilja Nieuwland, ilja.nieuwland@huygens.knaw.nl

When

17 and 18 September

Where

  • Day 1: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

  • Day 2: The Trippenhuis (Seat of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), Amsterdam