Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, And Visual Culture In The Dutch Golden Age

Hardcover | October 9, 2014

byDániel Margócsy

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Entrepreneurial science is not new; business interests have strongly influenced science since the Scientific Revolution. In Commercial Visions, Dániel Margócsy illustrates that product marketing, patent litigation, and even ghostwriting pervaded natural history and medicine—the “big sciences” of the early modern era—and argues that the growth of global trade during the Dutch Golden Age gave rise to an entrepreneurial network of transnational science.
           
Margócsy introduces a number of natural historians, physicians, and curiosi in Amsterdam, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris who, in their efforts to boost their trade, developed modern taxonomy, invented color printing and anatomical preparation techniques, and contributed to philosophical debates on topics ranging from human anatomy to Newtonian optics. These scientific practitioners, including Frederik Ruysch and Albertus Seba, were out to do business: they produced and sold exotic curiosities, anatomical prints, preserved specimens, and atlases of natural history to customers all around the world. Margócsy reveals how their entrepreneurial rivalries transformed the scholarly world of the Republic of Letters into a competitive marketplace.
           
Margócsy’s highly readable and engaging book will be warmly welcomed by anyone interested in early modern science, global trade, art, and culture.

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Entrepreneurial science is not new; business interests have strongly influenced science since the Scientific Revolution. In Commercial Visions, Dániel Margócsy illustrates that product marketing, patent litigation, and even ghostwriting pervaded natural history and medicine—the “big sciences” of the early modern era—and argues that the...

Dániel Margócsy is assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York, and lives in New York.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:October 9, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022611774X

ISBN - 13:9780226117744

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Chapter I. Baron von Uffenbach Goes on a Trip: The Infrastructure of International Science
Chapter II. Shipping Costs, the Exchange of Specimens, and the Development of Taxonomy
Chapter III. Image as Capital: Forging Albertus Seba’s Thesaurus
Chapter IV. Anatomical Specimens in the Republic of Letters: Scientific Publications as Marketing Tools
Chapter V. Commercial Epistemologies: The Anatomical Debates of Frederik Ruysch and Govard Bidloo
Chapter VI. Knowledge as Commodity: The Invention of Color Printing
Chapter VII. Peter the Great on a Shopping Spree

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“This impressive new account of scientific entrepreneurship in early modern Amsterdam offers fresh and often challenging arguments about relations between knowledge and the global marketplace. Margócsy’s well-informed historical guidebook offers a tour of the headquarters of Dutch trade and commerce; and in so doing, it sheds an original light on how the most dramatic achievements of the period, in the knowledge of animals, plants, and the human body, were linked quite directly with the power of the market. The book subtly demonstrates how the entrepreneurial interests of Amsterdam knowledge-makers led to vicious competition, unstable patterns of publication and exchange, and a relentless struggle for market share. Using brilliantly rendered and remarkably illustrated examples of atlases, handbooks, advertisements, and models, the work represents a rare and successful attempt to link together sophisticated art history, solid economic analysis, and a fine-grained account of the roots of modern dilemmas of science, of credit, and of trust. Margócsy’s book at once establishes itself as a highly significant contribution to the debate on the role of imagery in Dutch art, the social roots of modern sciences, and the tell-tale relation between market forces and intellectual competition.”