Synopses & Reviews
In science and technology, the images used to depict ideas, data, and reactions can be as striking and explosive as the concepts and processes they embodyand#151;both works of art and generative forces in their own right. Drawing on a close dialogue between the histories of art, science, and technology, The Technical Image
explores these images not as mere illustrations or examples, but as productive agents and distinctive, multilayered elements of the process of generating knowledge. Using beautifully reproduced visuals, this book not only reveals how scientific images play a constructive role in shaping the findings and insights they illustrate, but alsoand#151;however mechanical or detached from individual researchersand#8217; choices their appearances may beand#151;how they come to embody the styles of a period, a mindset, a research collective, or a device.
Opening with a set of key questions about artistic representation in science, technology, and medicine, The Technical Image then investigates historical case studies focusing on specific images, such as James Watsonand#8217;s models of genes, drawings of Darwinand#8217;s finches, and images of early modern musical automata. These case studies in turn are used to illustrate broad themes ranging from and#147;Digital Imagesand#8221; to and#147;Objectivity and Evidenceand#8221; and to define and elaborate upon fundamental terms in the field. Taken as a whole, this collection will provide analytical tools for the interpretation and application of scientific and technological imagery.
and#8220;Not only is the objectivity of scientific images . . . challenged, but the accounts here of technical histories, evaluation practices, iconographical traditions, and modes of perception make even clearer the constructive character of the images. For all that such images are expected to be self-evident and to follow rules of repetition and verifiability, like experiments, it is neverthelessand#8212;or, even better, thereforeand#8212;the case that manipulated images often generate better scientific results in the eyes of the scientists. . . . The volume deserves to be treated as an indispensable research tool.and#8221;
andldquo;The Technical Image concretizes the beginnings of a long-term intellectual project of outstanding importance: the interdisciplinary melding of methods from art history, media studies, and the history of science to produce a new body of scholarly literature on imagery generated in the contexts of andlsquo;pureandrsquo; and andlsquo;appliedandrsquo; scientific research. The illustrations are excellent, the translations are very good indeed, and the glossary will be invaluable to undergraduate and graduate students alike as they begin to navigate the rich interdisciplinary literature now emerging on the interactions between the history of art and the history of science and technology. The pointed and even controversial texts in this volume will serve in the Anglophone academy as a point of departure for a renewed debate in numerous fields that is already well under way in the German-speaking context.andrdquo;
andldquo;By way of direct and empirical engagement with materials and forms that make up an image, general issues emerge that go into informing and shaping the study of technical images. Among the most important of these general issues is the notion of style. As an art-historical category, style thus reemerges in the context of technical images. This book does an excellent job of not only expanding the study of the image in the history and sociology of science more toward art historyandrsquo;s veritable and long engagement with the image; but also conversely, it succeeds in explaining what art history takes to be an image. Visually exciting, interesting, and engaging.andrdquo;
andldquo;This multidisciplinary study trains an art historianandrsquo;s eye on historical scientific imagery. Editors Bredekamp, Danduuml;nkel, and Schneider draw on research from the Humboldt University of Berlin and a range of haunting images. They show that an iconic 1896 radiograph of a hand by X-ray discoverer Wilhelm Randouml;ntgen prompted both rhapsodies over a andlsquo;photography of the invisibleandrsquo; and frustration among medics struggling to use such images for diagnosis.andrdquo;
In this pathbreaking and richly illustrated book, Martin Kemp examines the major optically oriented examples of artistic theory and practice from Brunelleschi's invention of perspective and its exploitation by Leonardo and Durer to the beginnings of photography. In a discussion of color theory, Kemp traces two main traditions of color science: the Aristotelian tradition of primary colors and Newton's prismatic theory that influenced Runge, Turner, and Seurat. His monumental book not only adds to our understanding of a large group of individual works of art but also provides valuable information for all those interested in the interaction between science and art. "This beautifully made volume . . . shows us the unity of the visual study of nature--the exalted mutual task of Renaissance science and art."--Scientific American
" A] wonderful book. . . . Martin Kemp has convincingly demonstrated that even the most diverse styles of Western art from the Renaissance to modern times remained ever enthralled by scientific optics. . . . A] handsome volume."--Samuel Y. Edgerton, American Scientist
"An extraordinarily ambitious, even daring, enterprise. . . . The book leaves us in no doubt about its author's expertise in both fields. It includes the most comprehensive account of the development of perspective theory and practice I know."--Thomas Puttfarken, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Kemp has performed a valuable service. . . . His style is lucid and he emerges as an honest broker who judiciously weighs the historical evidence. He has an impressive command of the literature of both art and optical science across much of Europe and over a span of four centuries. . . . Kemp's thesis is amply illustrated with several hundred plates, including many of his own line drawings. . . . The reader is led gently through the history of art and the details of optical science to appreciate their interrelationship."--Geoffrey Cantor, Oxford Art Journal
The use of images has been critical to the pursuit of science for centuries.and#160; This book explores, within an art historical framework how toand#160; comprehend images not as illustrative representations, but as productive agents and distinctive multi-layered elements of the epistemic process. If scientific images play a constructive role in shaping the findings and insights they illustrate, the representation of an observation in images,and#160; however mechanical, however detached from the individual researcherand#8217;s choices their appearance may be, likewise becomes an instance of the style of a period, a mindset, a research collective, and a device. The Technical Image emerges from an institute in Germany, which has married art and historical analysis of technical images, and serves as a methodological reference and inspiration for visual representation in the sciences.and#160; The work opens with a series of methodological chapters that introduce a set of questions about representations in sciences and medicine, and the core of the work consists of historical case studies around specific images that in turn illustrate themes ranging from "objectivity and evidence" to "digital images." Within these case studies are also definitions and elaborations of selected terms that have in recent years become key concepts in the analysis of scientific imagery.
About the Author
Horst Bredekamp is professor of art history at the Humboldt University of Berlin and a permanent fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin.Vera Danduuml;nkel is a research affiliate with the andldquo;Das Technische Bildandrdquo; research project.Birgit Schneider is the postdoctoral fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation at the Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam.