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« Leonardo and the Wild State of Thought. | Main | Rediscoveries Revelations. Book Review: The Secrets of Leonardo da Vinci, Vol. 1, Graeme Cameron, Vega Scan, 2011. »



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Add to your list of connections Baudelaire's insight : "Nous sommes, comme on le voit, dans l'hôpital de la peinture. Nous touchons aux plaies et aux maladies; et celle-ci n'est pas une des moins étranges et des moins contagieuses."

Nice blog; just found it.

David Packwood

Yes, That Baudelaire reference is apt. I knew it but I had forgotten it. Thanks for reminding me.

H Niyazi

Lovely post David! This seems to be a prevalent theme in art history. There are hints of it in Antiquity, philosophical musings on art and poetics accompanied theories of how the body and universe worked - then we have Pliny's Natural History which threw art history in with the Natural sciences.

The increasing accuracy of anatomical depictions in the Early modern era has been discussed at length in many places, though its link to optics (rather than just anatomical study) is less popular, though arguably equally valid.

Coming into the modern era - Roger Fry and Giovanni Morelli stand out art historians whose exposure to natural science and medicine (respectively) helped define their approach. Leading to today, perhaps no greater exponent of the clinically reasoning art historian exists than Professor Martin Kemp, himself with a Natural science background.

On a personal note, I'd be amiss to leave out my own clinical training as being very useful is sifting through evidential standards as I learn more about attributions and the like.

On a very related note, I have a post due next week about Raphael and a medical diagnosis commonly remarked upon in his paintings :)

Kind Regards

David Packwood

Thanks H,

I knew about Martin Kemp's background in the natural sciences, which is unusual for an art historian.

I look forward to the Raphael post. Speaking of him, you might want to look at the review I've just put up of Graeme Cameron's new book.

Best- David


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