2016-2017 Events Calendar

November 8, 2017 – January 14, 2018, Kohler Art Library, Conrad Elvehjem Building: Science and Nature, Religion and Wonder in Medieval Books. The current exhibition at the Kohler Art Library features a selection of medieval manuscript facsimiles exploring the many ways scientific notions and religious doctrine intertwined to produce a wondrous world view, circa late antiquity through the early 16th century.

Curated by Prof. Thomas Dale and students in Art History 415: Image and Text in Medieval Manuscripts, the show complements the Center for the Humanities Borghesi-Mellon workshop: Science, Nature, and Wonder in the Middle Ages, a series of events that seeks to “challenge modern understandings of science by investigating new approaches to the medieval conception of scientia—“knowledge”—which included not only sciences such as optics, geometry, medicine, anatomy, but also a wider range of ways of knowing, visualizing, representing and relating to the natural world, including theology and religious practice.”

Participating students include Jessica Cochran, Angli Deng, Benjamin Dickel, Aniello di Iorio, Özlem Eren, Mateusz Ferens, Mya Frieze, Abrahm Guthrie-Potter, Tanya Kolarik, Lucas Pointon, Laura Schmidt, Thomas Schwiegert, and Fernando Vazquez.

Friday, December 8, 2017: Borghesi-Mellon Workshop on Science, Nature, and Wonder in the Middle Ages.

Claudia Swan (Art History, Northwestern University), Workshop and discussion on the topic, "Image, Imagination, Cognition." 12:00-1:15 p.m. in the Hagen Room, Department of Art History, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room 150 (at north entrance towards the University Club).

Friday, December 8, 2017: Borghesi-Mellon Workshop on Science, Nature, and Wonder in the Middle Ages.

Claudia Swan (Art History, Northwestern University), public lecture, "Art, Nature Fabrication," Department of Art History, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L150, 4:00 p.m.  Co-sponsored by Medieval Studies, the Center for Early Modern Studies, the Center for Visual Cultures, and the Department of Art History.

The often complex, always productive, and sometimes vexed relationship between art and nature is an august topos of early modern European culture—and of artistic production in particular. The relationship between art and nature played out across a variety of arenas in the early modern era. One arena in which the principles and products of art and nature were cultivated is the collection—and in particular, the sorts of collections referred to as Wunderkammern, chambers of wonder. The complex artifacts that epitomize Wunderkammer collections were prized for seeming the products of art and nature alike. This paper focuses on one such artifact, the shell vessel or Nautiluspokal, produced in large numbers around 1600. Fabricated objects that embody the play of art and nature, shell vessels emblematize the relationship between collecting and trade, and the commercialization and collecting of rare, foreign, curious, exotic items—nacre and lucre.