Workshop “Images and Institutions”

The Visual Culture of Early Modern Scientific Societies

Images and Institutions brings together an international team of historians of art and science for a three-day symposium in Rome to gain a larger picture of the relationships between visual culture and the developing practices of collaborative science.

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During this symposium we will study the diverse ways in which images were used in the production and dissemination of knowledge in early modern scientific societies such as the Accademia dei Lincei, the Accademia del Cimento, and the Académie Royale des Sciences. Central questions include: What common visual practices were shared among these institutions, and importantly, where did they diverge? How did differing national artistic contexts impact the visual culture of scientific institutions? And how did these relationships shift over time with new enlightenment societies founded in the 18th century? By comparing these institutions, we will explore the ways in which images and image-making practices were integral to the advancement of early modern collaborative science.

14 September at the Accademia dei Lincei (2-7pm)
15 September at the KNIR (9am-7pm)
16 September at the BHMPI (9am-6pm)


Program Images and Institutions: The Visual Culture of Early Modern Scientific Societies


Day 1 (14 September 2022) Accademia dei Lincei, Sala delle Scienze Fisiche, Palazzo Corsini – Via della Lungara, 10


14.00-14.45 Welcome (Roberto Antonelli, President Accademia dei Lincei) and Introduction (Katherine Reinhart, Matthijs Jonker, and Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi)


Session 1. The Visual Strategies of the Early Accademia dei Lincei

Chair: Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi (Accademia dei Lincei)


14.45-15.15    paper 1. Irene Baldriga, Ut pictura manifestat: Iconographic patterns and documentation “after reality” in the visual imagery of the first Accademia dei Lincei

15.15-15.45    paper 2. Matthijs Jonker, Understanding the Exotic: Original and Copied Images in the Production of the Tesoro messicano

15.45-16.15    discussion


16.15-17.00    Break and time to see the small exhibit of Lincean material in the Biblioteca Corsiniana


Session 2. Understanding other Cultures Through the Circulation of Images

Chair: Ariella Minden (Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History)


17.00-17.30     paper 3. Federica Favino, Structure and iconography of the ancient triremes on the Trajan Column

17.30-18.00    paper 4. Aleksander Musiał, Tracing Vapours: António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches’s Treatise on Russian baths (1771-9) between Paris and Saint Petersburg

18.00-19.00    discussion



Day 2 (15 September 2022) Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), Auditorium, Via Omero 10/12


Session 3. The Visual Strategies of Institutional Journals

Chair: Matthijs Jonker (KNIR)


9.30-10.00      paper 5. Simon Rebohm, Between Epistemology and Practice: Images in the Ephemerides of the Leopoldina

10.00-10.30    paper 6. Alicia Hughes, Image-making in The Society of Physicians in London and the Medical Observations and Inquiries journal (1754-1784) 

10.30-11.00    discussion


11.00-11.30    break


Session 4. The Visual Strategies of the Accademia del Cimento

Chair: Francesca Alberti (Villa Medici)


11.30-12.00    paper 7. Stefano Gulizia, Image-Making in the Cimento’s Network: Expertise more geometrico in Borelli, Steno, and Malpighi

12.00-12.30     paper 8. Eva Struhal, Virtual witnessing: illustrations and mental images in the Saggi della naturale Esperienze

12.30-13.00    discussion


13.00-14.30    lunch


Session 5. Old Theories and New Instruments

Chair: Sietske Fransen (Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History)


14.30-15.00    paper 9. Xinyi Wen, Between Internal and External: The Doctrine of Signatures and Visual Culture in Early Royal Society

15.00-15.30    paper 10. Eric Jorink, Teyler’s Foundation of Haarlem (1778): between art, science, and religion

15.30-16.00    discussion


16.00-17.00     break


Keynote lecture (hybrid)

Chair: Florike Egmond (Leiden University)


17.00-18.30     paper 11. Sachiko Kusukawa, Early Modern Scientific Institutions and Their Images


18.30-19.30    drinks



Day 3 (16 September 2022) Bibliotheca Hertziana, Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22


Session 6. The Visual Strategies of the Académie Royale des Sciences and other French Institutions

Chair: Laura Valterio (University of Zurich / Bibliotheca Hertziana)


9.00-9.30        paper 12. Katherine Reinhart, Science & Statecraft: On the Epistemic and Political Functions of Images in the Académie Royale des Sciences

9.30-10.00      paper 13. Antoine Gallay, The Value of Accuracy: How Savants Supervised Draughtsmen and Corrected Pictures in the Early Académie Royale des Sciences

10.00-10.30    discussion


10.30-11.00    break


11.00-11.30    paper 14. Carole Nataf, Picturing shells from Senegal: Visual competition at the Académie des Sciences, the Jardin du roi and Parisian curieux circles in the year 1757

11.30-12.00    paper 15. Leendert van der Miesen, “The figures in your hands”: Images at L’Académie Royale des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts in Bordeaux     discussion


12.30-13.30    lunch


Session 7. Artistic and Scientific Exchange within Early Modern Institutions

Chair: Katherine Reinhart (Binghamton University)


13.30-14.00    paper 16. Sophie-Luise Mävers, Crossing institutional boundaries? Artistic reflections on the interdependencies of academies of sciences and arts in late 17th and 18th century Europe 

14.00-14.30    paper 17. Immacolata Iaccarino, Gelati’s intellectual circle: the epistemic interaction and the figurative program of Ottavio Scarlattini’s L’huomo, e sue parti figurato (1684)

14.30-15.00    discussion


15.00-15.30    break


15.30-16.00    paper 18. Ruth Sargent Noyes, A case study in a previously unidentified state of Mattheus Greuter’s Melissographia

16.00-16.30    paper 19. Angelo Cattaneo, The “Armazém da [Casa] Índia”

16.30-17.00    discussion


17.00-17.15    break


17.15-18.00    final discussion


Scientific organization: Katherine Reinhart (Binghamton University), Matthijs Jonker (Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, KNIR), Irene Baldriga (Sapienza, Università di Roma), Sietske Fransen (Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute Art History)


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