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"Janello Torriani (Cremona 1500 ca.-Toledo 1585): a Social History of Invention between Renaissance and Scientific Revolution"

Dates:
  • Sat 27 Oct 2012 10.30 - 12.30
  Add to Calendar 2012-10-27 10:30 2012-10-27 12:30 Europe/Paris "Janello Torriani (Cremona 1500 ca.-Toledo 1585): a Social History of Invention between Renaissance and Scientific Revolution"

My PhD thesis is about how scientific knowledge was taught, circulated and used in Renaissance Europe and how technological innovation was practiced. The thesis focuses on clockmaker Janello Torriani, known in Spanish historiography as Juanelo Turriano (Cremona, Italy ca. 1500 – Toledo, Spain 1585). Janello was a craftsman coming from a secondary centre of the Duchy of Milan. In his late forties he was employed in the capital city at the governor’s service. This was the first prestigious step in a career that later led him to the imperial court of Charles V and to the Spanish court of Philip II. Torriani created some technological devices that were praised by his contemporaries as mechanical marvels -e.g. planetary clocks that were unique examples of mechanical miniaturization, and the Toledo Device, the first great machine of history that elevated water for a good 100 meters on a distance of 300 meters. Moreover, Torriani participated to the Gregorian reform of the calendar besides other mathematical and mechanical endeavours. Janello Torriani, despite his specificities in regard to craftsmanship and ingenuity, is a paradigmatic practitioner of a Renaissance scientia media such as mechanics, compounded between the two polarities of theoretical and practical knowledge. Throughout his carrier I could flesh out the structures, processes and agencies that shaped the Renaissance “superior craftsman”. My thesis is divided in three parts: in the first one I analyzed the educational pattern of Torriani, showing how university knowledge and practical training at the workshop contributed together to the making of the Renaissance engineer. In the second part I have looked at the relation between power and technology, focusing on the problems of patronage, technological innovation and court culture. In the third part I dealt with the problem of a Renaissance technical profession as engineering, with invention and secrecy, and with the problem of hydraulics in 16th century Europe.

Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA

My PhD thesis is about how scientific knowledge was taught, circulated and used in Renaissance Europe and how technological innovation was practiced. The thesis focuses on clockmaker Janello Torriani, known in Spanish historiography as Juanelo Turriano (Cremona, Italy ca. 1500 – Toledo, Spain 1585). Janello was a craftsman coming from a secondary centre of the Duchy of Milan. In his late forties he was employed in the capital city at the governor’s service. This was the first prestigious step in a career that later led him to the imperial court of Charles V and to the Spanish court of Philip II. Torriani created some technological devices that were praised by his contemporaries as mechanical marvels -e.g. planetary clocks that were unique examples of mechanical miniaturization, and the Toledo Device, the first great machine of history that elevated water for a good 100 meters on a distance of 300 meters. Moreover, Torriani participated to the Gregorian reform of the calendar besides other mathematical and mechanical endeavours. Janello Torriani, despite his specificities in regard to craftsmanship and ingenuity, is a paradigmatic practitioner of a Renaissance scientia media such as mechanics, compounded between the two polarities of theoretical and practical knowledge. Throughout his carrier I could flesh out the structures, processes and agencies that shaped the Renaissance “superior craftsman”. My thesis is divided in three parts: in the first one I analyzed the educational pattern of Torriani, showing how university knowledge and practical training at the workshop contributed together to the making of the Renaissance engineer. In the second part I have looked at the relation between power and technology, focusing on the problems of patronage, technological innovation and court culture. In the third part I dealt with the problem of a Renaissance technical profession as engineering, with invention and secrecy, and with the problem of hydraulics in 16th century Europe.


Location:
Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Prof. Bartolomé Yun Casalilla (EUI and Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla)
Mario Biagioli (University of California, Davis)
Prof. Maria Antonietta Visceglia (Università La Sapienza di Roma)

Supervisor:
Antonella Romano (EHESS, Paris)

Contact:
Monica Palao Calvo - Send a mail

Defendant:
Cristiano Zanetti (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

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