Archimedes

Laboratories of Art

Alchemy and Art Technology from Antiquity to the 18th Century

Editors: Dupre, Sven (Ed.)

  • Includes accessibly written chapters on the widest range of visual and decorative arts by scholars of history of alchemy and chemistry
  • High-quality images, sometimes of art objects shown here in print for the first time
  • Includes references to art objects included in the exhibition on art and alchemy at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf
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eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-05065-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-05064-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at 1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (Weekdays 8:30am – 5:30pm ET) to place your order.
  • Due: October 21, 2016
  • ISBN 978-3-319-35057-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
About this book

This book explores the interconnections and differentiations between artisanal workshops and alchemical laboratories and between the arts and alchemy from Antiquity to the eighteenth century. In particular, it scrutinizes epistemic exchanges between producers of the arts and alchemists. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the term laboratorium uniquely referred to workplaces in which ‘chemical’ operations were performed: smelting, combustion, distillation, dissolution and precipitation. Artisanal workshops equipped with furnaces and fire in which ‘chemical’ operations were performed were also known as laboratories. Transmutational alchemy (the transmutation of all base metals into more noble ones, especially gold) was only one aspect of alchemy in the early modern period. The practice of alchemy was also about the chemical production of things--medicines, porcelain, dyes and other products as well as precious metals and about the knowledge of how to produce them. This book uses examples such as the Uffizi to discuss how Renaissance courts established spaces where artisanal workshops and laboratories were brought together, thus facilitating the circulation of materials, people and knowledge between the worlds of craft (today’s decorative arts) and alchemy. Artisans became involved in alchemical pursuits beyond a shared material culture and some crafts relied on chemical expertise offered by scholars trained as alchemists. Above all, texts and books, products and symbols of scholarly culture played an increasingly important role in artisanal workshops. In these workplaces a sort of hybrid figure was at work. With one foot in artisanal and the other in scholarly culture this hybrid practitioner is impossible to categorize in the mutually exclusive categories of scholar and craftsman. By the seventeenth century the expertise of some glassmakers, silver and goldsmiths and producers of porcelain was just as based in the worlds of alchemical and bookish learning as it was grounded in hands-on work in the laboratory. This book suggests that this shift in workshop culture facilitated the epistemic exchanges between alchemists and producers of the decorative arts.

Reviews

“This volume presents a multifaceted study of the complex, and sometimes blurred, relationship between art production and alchemical process, with a focus on artisans who utilized the agency of fire in the transformation of raw materials into objects of art, such as glassmakers, silver- and goldsmiths, and porcelain producers. … present stimulating new ventures into the subject of alchemy through their ruminations on skill and imagination. … excellent research and teaching resources that connect to a wide and diverse audience.” (Donna Bilak, Isis, Vol. 107 (3), September, 2016)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • The Alchemical Art of Dyeing: The Fourfold Division of Alchemy and the Enochian Tradition

    Martelli, Matteo

    Pages 1-22

  • Transmission of Alchemical and Artistic Knowledge in German Mediaeval and Premodern Recipe Books

    Neven, Sylvie

    Pages 23-51

  • Artisanal Processes and Epistemological Debate in the Works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Vannoccio Biringuccio

    Bernardoni, Andrea

    Pages 53-78

  • Artificial Interventions in the Natural Form of Things: Shared Metallogenetical Concepts of Goldsmiths and Alchemists

    Haug, Henrike

    Pages 79-103

  • The Laboratories of Art and Alchemy at the Uffizi Gallery in Renaissance Florence: Some Material Aspects

    Kieffer, Fanny

    Pages 105-127

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-05065-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-05064-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at 1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (Weekdays 8:30am – 5:30pm ET) to place your order.
  • Due: October 21, 2016
  • ISBN 978-3-319-35057-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Laboratories of Art
Book Subtitle
Alchemy and Art Technology from Antiquity to the 18th Century
Editors
  • Sven Dupre
Series Title
Archimedes
Series Volume
37
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-05065-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-05065-2
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-05064-5
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-35057-8
Series ISSN
1385-0180
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 200
Number of Illustrations and Tables
13 b/w illustrations, 34 illustrations in colour
Topics