L&S Curricular Connections

Big Ideas Courses

History C188A / History of Art C156B

Art and Science

Arts and Literature; Historical Studies

In this course we explore the intersections of art and science in medieval, modern, and contemporary history. Our aim is twofold. First, to explore the close interaction between these two fields, and the way in which they have shaped each other through the ages. Second, to focus our attention on specific instances of art/science interaction, using them as prisms through which one can reach a fuller understanding of major historical transformations. We shall focus on figures who worked at the threshold between art and science, and contributed to reshape profoundly the discourse between and within them. We shall study this junction as a key site of innovation and change. We shall also engage with the question of creativity, and its meaning within the two fields. How do artists and scientists conceive new ideas? Drawing, scribbling, and sketching have long been crucial tools for both artists and scientists. Now as in the past, artists look at experimental and laboratory practices as sources of inspiration, while scientists routinely mobilize the languages of art to illustrate and represent new knowledge. Leonardo will be the pivotal Renaissance figure, while the rise of modern science and technology will lead us into the contemporary experience of the art/ science interaction, up to the current transformation of both fields through computing and digital media.

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2014
  • Fall 2013
Beate Fricke faculty profile
Beate Fricke
Massimo Mazzotti faculty profile
Massimo Mazzotti (History)