Colloque international : « The Shared Languages of Art and Science in Early Modern Europe », en ligne, 25-26 Juin 2021

While the term “science” is most often associated with the systematic study of the physical or natural world, up to the nineteenth century the term “scientia” referred to any branch of systematic knowledge, including the arts and other fields currently associated with the humanities. In the 1950s, the British philosopher C. P. Snow famously coined the term “two cultures” as a major cultural force of the nineteenth and twentieth century in order to describe the by then fundamental divide between science and the humanities. Since then, historians and anthropologists of science have raised the question of how this increasingly hierarchical disciplinary divide came about. How exactly did natural philosophy (the term for “science” until the 19th century), physics, and mathematics turn into “the paradigmatic science,” exerting a dominant cultural impact on other disciplines.

The conference organized online in June 2021 seeks to flesh out the period before such binary (and hierarchical) divisions were established, in particular from a linguistic, rhetorical and poetic point of view. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, art and natural philosophy were not rival disciplines but different forms of expressing a profound curiosity about nature. The papers will be looking closely at shared structures that connected both domains during the early modern period, with a special focus on language as the nexus between conceptual ideas and the sensible world. In examining the dialogue in terms of sociocultural, epistemological and particularly discursive patterns, “art” and “science” will be associated on a deeper level than that of concrete connections and practical activities.




This conference will be held via Zoom. Please register in advance.

Organizers: Denis Ribouillault, Itay Sapir, Eva Struhal


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