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The Art and Nature of Glass: A Material in the History of Knowledge

Dates:
  • Mon 04 Nov 2019 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-11-04 15:00 2019-11-04 17:00 Europe/Paris The Art and Nature of Glass: A Material in the History of Knowledge

Today, glass is ubiquitous: from window glass to tableware, and from eyeglasses to glass fibres. I am currently writing a history of glass, and in this lecture I will reflect on the benefits of focusing on one material – glass – in writing the history of knowledge. Such a history cuts across the worlds of art, science, craft, technology, and the various properties of glass as a material: its malleability when it is hot, its translucency and brilliant colours, its transparency, which allows us to look through it, and its fragility and brittleness. One of the themes explored looks at how important imitation has been to the development of glass, not only in the imitation of historical glass and techniques, but also in that of nature. The visual qualities of translucency, light and colour were the most important elements in the description of gemstones and their imitations in several crafts, especially glass making since Antiquity. Conversely, the art of glass-making had a major impact on our knowledge of nature. In this lecture I will show how the making of glass is closely intertwined with the way we experience and know the world. Without glass we would live in a different world, and certainly understand it less.

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Today, glass is ubiquitous: from window glass to tableware, and from eyeglasses to glass fibres. I am currently writing a history of glass, and in this lecture I will reflect on the benefits of focusing on one material – glass – in writing the history of knowledge. Such a history cuts across the worlds of art, science, craft, technology, and the various properties of glass as a material: its malleability when it is hot, its translucency and brilliant colours, its transparency, which allows us to look through it, and its fragility and brittleness. One of the themes explored looks at how important imitation has been to the development of glass, not only in the imitation of historical glass and techniques, but also in that of nature. The visual qualities of translucency, light and colour were the most important elements in the description of gemstones and their imitations in several crafts, especially glass making since Antiquity. Conversely, the art of glass-making had a major impact on our knowledge of nature. In this lecture I will show how the making of glass is closely intertwined with the way we experience and know the world. Without glass we would live in a different world, and certainly understand it less.


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Organiser:
Stéphane Van Damme

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

Speaker:
Sven Dupré (Utrecht University)

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