Here’sÂ a splendid lecture on the role of alchemy in the beginning of the era of modern science by UCLA History Professor Margaret Jacob. It’s a most impressive presentation. My thanks to Adam Kendall for alerting me to this video on YouTube.
Dr. Jacob is the author of Â “The Radical Enlightenment”.Â
Thanks, Michael, for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I’m pleased to introduce you to Wright’s paintings; however, I must admit a great deal of ignorance about alchemy, so I thank you for providing me with a link (in Jacob’s lecture above) to a deeper insight into Wright’s work.
What I find particularly fascinating about Jacob’s lecture, in context of Wright’s work, is that the three “characteristics of the new science” she describes as part of the process of “knowing nature scientifically” are reflected in Wright’s science paintings:
1.) experimentalism: the systematic and disciplined study of nature that could be [independently] replicated by someone else
2.) the mechanical philosophy: exploring the nature of matter and the reason for its motion [i.e the motion of the planets, the nature of air]
3.) natural philosphers assumed that the study of nature must be a deeply social activity, complete with specific spaces for demonstrations and witnesses
Wright’s work reflects the deep cultural, scientific and philosophical revoloution that was taking place during the period of the Enlightenment and that’s something that strikes me as amazing. I mean, I know it’s what artists do, but to see it “illustrated” is something else entirely.