Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 5354
Focus of Research
Mechanisms of Cooperation between Drawers, Copperplate Engravers, Printers and Natural Historians in the 18th Century
DFG-Project „The Artists of Natural History. A Study on the Cooperation of Draughtsmen, Printers, Copperplate Engravers, and Natural Historians in the Eighteenth Century.“
Head of Project: Prof. Kärin Nickelsen, DFG NI 1478/3-1
See also: https://www.en.gn.geschichte.uni-muenchen.de/research/current_projects/botanical_illustration.html
This project investigates the artistic practices that have been used in the 18th century in order to produce images for works of Natural History. I will argue for the thesis that the artists´ artisanal skill heavily influenced what was being depicted, even more so than observation or underlying theory. The projects starting point will be a number of drawers, copperplate engravers, printers, and perhaps illuminators who had connections and dealings with the physician and naturalist Christoph Jacob Trew (1695-1769), who published many illustrated books or initiated their being published. Drawing on Trew´s substantial legacy of letters as well as additional sources, I will investigate the formation, specialization, and social structure of artists who were educated as Natural Historians. I am mainly interested in how exactly this complex and cooperative arrangement was organized and therefore able to produce scientific images. Of further interest is by which criteria the selection of cooperative relationships came to be, how processes were handled, how much room for initiative the individual actors had, and how this room was negotiated.