Katherine Reinhart is a historian of art and science in early modernity. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge on the project Making Visible: The visual and graphic practices of the early Royal Society. Her research focuses on the creation and use of images in the formation of knowledge, in the context of artistic practices, collecting, and art theory. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming issue of Word & Image on copying and knowledge making in early modern Europe. Since September 2019, she has been NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Philadelphia.
Making Visible Project website: www.mv.crassh.cam.ac.uk
Images for the King: Art, Science, and Power in Louis XIV’s France
During her residency at Camargo, Katherine made substantial progress toward completing her first book Images for the King: Art, Science, and Power in Louis XIV’s France. This project explores the epistemic and political functions of images in the early Académie royale des sciences. It reveals how various types of visual material – from anatomical drawings to allegorical reliefs on coins – were an indispensable part of the Academy’s projects, as well as providing tangible evidence of the scientific ambitions of the French state. This study cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries in the histories of art and science to explore graphic skill, visual and scientific practice, patronage structures, knowledge production, and the political uses of images.
During the Academy’s formative period, from its inauguration in 1666 to the death of King Louis XIV in 1715, the Academy produced a wealth of images in the form of drawings, prints, medallions, and paintings, and was subject to widespread visual representation. Like England’s Royal Society, the Academy was pivotal in the development of early modern natural philosophy as one of the first and best-funded scientific institutions in Europe. Historians have examined individual publications and images produced by Academy members, but the broad scope of the Academy’s visual culture has never been systematically analysed. This book interrogates how various images and objects were created, selected, and deployed in the service of knowledge production and as a means of broadcasting monarchical power. In addition, this study accounts for the graphic and pictorial practices of both the natural philosophers, assembled in Paris by Louis XIV, and the artists with whom they regularly collaborated.
Katherine Reinhart was in residence at the Camargo Foundation in 2020, as part of the Core Program.
She presented her project on April 1, 2020.