Article ID: CBB266756152

Images and Theories: The Study of Fossils in Leonardo, Scilla and Hooke (2018)


The paper examines how images, technological-artistic knowledge and theories interacted with each other in early modern geology. Casting techniques provided Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) with an analogical model for the study of fossils, which he expounded using only texts and theories, not images. For painter Agostino Scilla, on the other hand, images of fossils and animals (La Vana speculazione disingannata dal senso, Napoli, 1670) were the key-feature of his approach, intentionally limited to the external aspects of the specimen, the very domain of the painter. Theories and microscopic examination of the internal aspects orientated Robert Hooke’s visual comparisons in Micrographia (London, 1665), aimed at demonstrating the organic origin of fossils, while, in the same period, visual comparisons were used to support opposite interpretations of fossils as well, like in the case of Francesco Stelluti.

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Article Luca Ciancio; Domenico Laurenza (2018) Visual Representation in Earth Sciences History after “The Emergence”: Introduction. Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza (pp. 397-414). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Vai, Gian Battista
Pizzorusso, Ann C.
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico
Federica Migliardo
Charles G.M. Paxton
Nella Coletta
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Raccolta Vinciana
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Aras Edizioni
Reaktion Books
Princeton University Press
Kluwer Academic
Visual representation; visual communication
Science and art
Earth sciences
Leonardo da Vinci
Steno, Nicolaus
Scilla, Agostino
Kircher, Athanasius
Hooke, Robert
Bartoli, Pietro Santi
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
15th century
20th century

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