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articles

1. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Olivier Dubouclez

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2. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Simen K. Nielsen

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This paper explores conflations of martyrdom, spectatorship, and image theory in Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of St. Peter (1601). It argues that Caravaggio employs an “iconic” visual formula as a response to the pressures of a post-Tridentine poetics. Through these strategies, an iconography of immediacy and presence is paired with a sacrificial subject-matter. This merging united witness and visual experience in the shape of the sacred image. Martyrdom, as both a historical and representational phenomenon of early modern sociality and culture, invoked the act of spectatorship. In connecting the Crucifixion of St. Peter with the cultural and aesthetic paradigms of post-Tridentine Italy, the article argues that Caravaggio’s image re-imagines the codes of iconic repre­sentation. While not a novel academic context for Caravaggio scholarship, I will read this image less as the expression of stylistic tensions in the Roman artworld than as the result of overlapping frameworks—martyrdom, Petrine iconography, and a Counter-Reformation aesthetic. Reenergized as part of the visual rhetoric of Tridentine politics, the icon reflected a new propensity for paleochristian cultural revival. Discussing both the contextual pressures of this new aesthetic regime as well as intertwining it with the increasing presence of Catholic image treatises, the article suggests an “iconic” space for reading Caravaggio’s Crucifixion. This “iconic” framework is built into the charged discourse surrounding the image itself.
3. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Augustin Cupșa

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The present study aims to investigate the psychological mechanisms beneath the change in the facial expression of some of the beheaded characters in Caravaggio’s works, starting from The Head of Medusa, from the artist’s youth, and reaching David with the Head of Goliath, a mature workpiece, searching the continuity between them through a series of self-portraits/ self-insertions of the artist in his work. The psychodynamic analysis is limited by the constitution of its practice to the study of the process of image production and the artistic imaginary, rather than to the investigation of man or the artist out of reach by means of figurative and symbolic language. This approach aims to highlight the drives of the unconscious, the structures of censorship and the technique of operating of the defensive mechanisms that ultimately could contribute to the production of such masterful images that are both seductive and confusing. The study incorporates and continues the contribution of authors such as Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit who applied Laplanche’s theory of generalized seduction theory in the analysis of Caravaggio’s works, but also the mirror stage of Lacan and the masterful study of Winnicott regarding the reflection of the baby in the mimics of his mother, an unconscious unclear image that will stand forever for the perception of the self. The change of the affective resonance, expressiveness and emotional relating to violence is natural in the course of human evolution. While not even the artist Caravaggio can elude it, his work can illustrate by deflection these transforma­tions of the dynamics of the mind, it can raise new questions and open new perspectives of understanding the artistic drive.
4. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Daniel M. Unger

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In his painting of Martha and Mary Magdalene, Caravaggio depicted the two sisters of Lazarus as engaged in a serious conversation. On the one hand Martha is rebuking Mary Magdalene. On the other hand, Mary is responding in that she turns a mirror towards her older sister. The aim of this article is to elucidate how this reciprocal conversation reflects post-Trent propaganda. Martha represents a group of believers that remained within the Catholic Church but did not embrace the changes implemented by the leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Mary Magdalene represents the reformed church that acknowledged, accepted, and implemented the decisions of the Council of Trent. The difference between the two sisters is not in their faith. They differ in their reaction. For Martha, faith was blind. For Mary Magdalene faith is an outcome of the deeds of Christ. Martha believed in Christ and continued to act according to tradition. Magdalene’s reaction is related to gaining knowledge and change, which is what the Catholic Reformation is all about.
5. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Michela Young

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Caravaggio and Rembrandt have often been considered together in light of their realism and use of chiaroscuro, as propounded in the 2006 exhibition “Caravaggio-Rembrandt”. This article explores another unifying characteristic of their paintings, ambiguity. By specifically considering the artists’ construction of narrative ambiguity in their first versions of The Supper at Emmaus, from their respective climates of Protestant Holland and Counter-Reformation Italy, it analyses the significance of the pictorial and temporal strategies employed for the exegesis of the Emmaus narrative. It considers these paintings as intentionally aporetic artworks, relying on the spiritual awareness of the viewer to resolve their indeterminacy and to reactivate their Eucharistic meaning.
6. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Olivier Dubouclez

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Various elements suggest that not only Medusa’s beheading, but also her metamorphosis is present on the parade shield that Caravaggio painted in 1597-1598 and that his patron, Cardinal del Monte, offered to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando de’ Medici. Scholars have recently insisted that the famous rotella shares many features with an engraving by Cornelis Cort, now attributed to Antonio Salamanca, a possible copy of a lost work by Leonardo. Interestingly, this engraving comes with a description of Medusa’s metamorphosis, taken from a passage of Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Pagan Gods where the Ovidian myth is associated with the legend of the beautiful queen Medusa. Indeed, the Cort-Salamanca’s print shows the metamorphosis in progress: a terrified woman transforming into a monstrous hybrid of humanity and bestiality. While emphasizing the Gorgone’s double nature, Caravaggio pushes her representation in an even more naturalistic direction. Such a naturalization of Medusa, who seems to have lost even her petrifying power, fits with the apotropaic function of the shield as it is exposed in contemporary descriptions of the Grand Duke’s rotella and symbolical interpretations of the gorgoneion.

reviews

7. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Elsa Maury

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8. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Remus Gabriel Manoilă

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9. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2

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10. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2

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articles

11. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Michael Bycroft

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The eighteenth century has long been a problem for historians of science. The century suffers from an apparent lack of towering individuals and unifying theories, as Geoffrey Cantor observed in an essay published in 1982. Much good work has been done in the forty years since then, most of it aimed at locating science in the Enlightenment. But the Enlightenment is just one of several themes that can help to make sense of eighteenth-century science as a whole. The other themes may be summarised as Classification, the First Scientific Revolution, the Second Scientific Revolution, Discipline Formation, and Natural Philosophy. The articles in this special issue are relevant to all six themes, as a summary of those articles will show. This essay ends with suggestions for future research on eighteenth-century science. The upshot is that we need to go beyond the Enlightenment by considering the five other themes discussed here and by considering events in general history other than the Enlightenment.
12. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Domenico Bertoloni Meli

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At nearly forty, Science and the Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1985) by Thomas L. Hankins is seriously dated but still widely used, broadly reliable for what it covers and frustrating for its omissions, richly informative in its contents and somewhat opaque in its intellectual coordinates. For better or for worse, with its compact two hundred pages of text and remarkably well-chosen images, it remains the best textbook on the period, even though recent research has greatly enriched, problematized, and subverted older assumptions. This essay situates Hankins’s textbook within our changing understanding of the sciences in the Enlightenment, providing a critical evaluation of its achievements, problems, and intellectual agenda. I focus on periodization and the role Isaac Newton’s main works, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687) and Opticks (1704)—both with much expanded later editions—play in Hankins’s narrative with respect to their intellectual and methodological agenda. While offering some thoughts on what mid-1980s readers may have reasonably expected from a textbook on the Enlightenment, I also include brief reflections on how the field has changed in recent times and some comments on what a new textbook may look like, forty years later.
13. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Brendan Dooley

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Italian contributions to the Enlightenment are most often discussed in terms of the slow acceptance of Newtonian science (Ferrone) or the obstacles to change within a quaint museum of antiquated states (Venturi). This case study of an important naturalist attempts to identify the paths to change between tradition and revolt, in fields of natural knowledge that are sometimes less regarded in the context of an international movement of intellectual emancipation. In spite of an early attachment to some form of physico‑theology, Antonio Vallisneri, professor of medicine at the University of Padua from 1700 to his death in 1730, made a number of innovative contributions to biological description and natural history which placed him among the forerunners of Georges Buffon. Heir to the empirical approach enshrined in the work of Marcello Malpighi, for the most part he attempted to avoid much of the philosophical and theological speculation raging between deists and atheists. However, the implications of his work, including activity as a science communicator to wider audiences, pointed to a reassessment of the importance of accurate natural knowledge in the ongoing reform of public instruction and cultural institutions then occurring in the major cities of Italy and abroad, an important plank in the Enlightenment program in the years leading up to the French Encyclopédie.
14. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Emma C. Spary

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In light of research which, since the publication of Rousseau and Porter’s Ferment of Knowledge, has demonstrated the continued centrality of magic and the occult to what may be termed “scientific knowledge” in the early modern period, this essay argues that one domain of practice where these concerns remained paramount well into the eighteenth century is the consumption of recipes. Whether exchanged between individuals or collected in print format, these mobile informational media relied on forms of proof under­pinned by personal experience and collective accreditation, with an inductive and empirical focus that was distinct from Cartesian deduction. Because the culture of recipe exchange was so widespread, encompassing scholars, savants and lay readers, secrets offered ways to challenge strict mechanistic interpretations in favour of a view of the natural world as informed by unseen active powers, particularly where the virtues of materials such as magnets or medicinal simples were concerned. Using private library catalogues of book owners, a commonplace book and a scientific periodical produced in France during the decades after 1700, the article traces the way secrets culture continued to foster an epistemological space in which mechanical explanations evidently fell short of accounting for quotidian experience.
15. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Anita Guerrini

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Both The Ferment of Knowledge and Geoffrey Cantor’s essay review defined the “eighteenth-century problem” in terms of the lack of a totalizing vision. Forty years on, the problem has shifted to the appropriation of eighteenth-century science by both the political left and the right. As historians grapple with the legacies of slavery and colonialism, an emerging theme is material culture and its “entanglements.” The subject of this essay, collections and collecting, is central to this new historiography. Collections included antiq­uities, natural history, anatomy, and ethnographic objects. My focus will be on human skeletal collections. Historians who have considered skeletal collec­tions have focused mainly on the later eighteenth century and on developing concepts of race and geological time. But their significance is much broader. Collecting entailed entanglements both of cultures and of genres. Such collections could be medical, geological, aesthetic, taxonomic, or all or none of these. Case studies of collections of human bones, skeletons, and skulls reveal a different eighteenth century from that which the historians of 1980 envisaged, and bring questions of value and values to the centre of our reading of history.
16. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Richard Sorrenson

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Historians have long been wary of teleological narratives of scientific change. But it is possible to tell a progressive narrative without being teleological, and that is precisely the kind of narrative that is needed to make sense of science in eighteenth-century Europe. Change in this period tended to be incremental rather than sudden, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This may be illustrated by the scientific instruments of the period, which were usually improvements on existing instruments rather than entirely new instruments. Existing instruments were combined, their power augmented, and their accuracy increased, three routes to improvement that may be illustrated by the gazometer, the reflecting telescope, and the theodolite. The notion of improved instruments was a variant of a wider phenomenon in the eighteenth century, the use of “improvement” and similar notions to understand economic and political change.
17. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Adrian Wilson

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This paper argues that there took place in the eighteenth century a specific, distinctive and essential phase in the emergence of modern science, a phase which can be characterised as “the Great Instauration” in that it witnessed the large-scale realisation of Francis Bacon’s earlier vision—albeit not, for the most part, through the specific means which Bacon had proposed. That claim is exemplified in three fields—the “physico-mathematical sciences,” chemistry and electricity—each of which yielded dramatic and permanent advances in knowledge; and an attempt is then made to render those advances intelligible in terms of specific social and technical themes. The paper proposes that the eighteenth-century Great Instauration arose from the development of an international natural-philosophical community, made possible by new institutions and especially by new publication media. And it suggests that what made this social development epistemologically fruitful was an inherently progressive process which had been anticipated by Bacon, namely what Sophie Weeks has called his “cybernetic” account of knowledge-making—the refinement of both questions and techniques in the light of Nature’s response to investigation.

reviews

18. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Matteo Fornasier

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19. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Speranța Sofia Milancovici

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20. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1

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