Artful Science: Enlightenment Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual Education

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MIT Press, 1996 - Art - 350 pages
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What has happened to the magic of learning? Playful illusions, spellbinding games, and lifelike automata were once integral to education. Artful Science reveals the exhilarating but paradoxical intertwining of enchantment with enlightenment in the early modern period. A cross-disciplinary guide to intellectual high and low life of the eighteenth century, Artful Science makes the case for the pedagogical opportunities inherent in an oral-visual culture. Barbara Stafford draws on an extraordinary range of historical sources and popular imagery, exploring from a new perspective the perceptual cognition that she so deftly analyzed in Body Criticism. Her important reinterpretation also casts many well-studied paintings as instances of an instructive art of demonstration.Artful Science opens by describing the evolution of mathematical recreations and their relationship to the middle class's increasing leisure time. Subsequent chapters focus on the problem of distinguishing legitimate science from virtuoso fraud; the public performance of experiments; and early attempts to create informative and attractive natural history exhibits. Throughout, Stafford emphasizes the concern for telling truth from fiction in a world of alluring technology. The enlighteners' relentless association of sensory evidence with deception led to the submergence of a "tricking" oral-visual culture by "serious" mass literacy drives, Stafford observes. Yet sophisticated teaching techniques and ingenious learning machines made abstractions concrete and appealing to ever-widening eighteenth-century audiences. With the modern computer graphics revolution always in view, Artful Science suggests fresh means for putting intelligence, enjoyment, and communicative power back into thinking with images.

 

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Contents

Section 1
6
Section 2
15
Section 3
20
Section 4
21
Section 5
55
Section 6
83
Section 7
87
Section 8
102
Section 12
147
Section 13
149
Section 14
152
Section 15
163
Section 16
189
Section 17
192
Section 18
207
Section 19
223

Section 9
106
Section 10
119
Section 11
141
Section 20
276
Section 21
277
Copyright

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Page 316 - Recreations. Or the Mindes Release and Solacing. In a Rare and Exquisite Invention for the Exercising of Acute Wits and Industrious Dispositions. Replenished with Mysteries. Secrets, and

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Spatial Formations
Nigel Thrift
No preview available - 1996
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About the author (1996)

Barbara Stafford is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Good Looking, Artful Science, Body Criticism, and Voyage into Substance (all published by MIT Press).

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