Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance by Mary Quinlan-McGrath

Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance

byMary Quinlan-McGrath

Hardcover | February 20, 2013

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Today few would think of astronomy and astrology as fields related to theology. Fewer still would know that physically absorbing planetary rays was once considered to have medical and psychological effects. But this was the understanding of light radiation held by certain natural philosophers of early modern Europe, and that, argues Mary Quinlan-McGrath, was why educated people of the Renaissance commissioned artworks centered on astrological themes and practices.
 
Influences is the first book to reveal how important Renaissance artworks were designed to be not only beautiful but also—perhaps even primarily—functional. From the fresco cycles at Caprarola, to the Vatican’s Sala dei Pontefici, to the Villa Farnesina, these great works were commissioned to selectively capture and then transmit celestial radiation, influencing the bodies and minds of their audiences. Quinlan-McGrath examines the sophisticated logic behind these theories and practices and, along the way, sheds light on early creation theory; the relationship between astrology and natural theology; and the protochemistry, physics, and mathematics of rays.
 
An original and intellectually stimulating study, Influences adds a new dimension to the understanding of aesthetics among Renaissance patrons and a new meaning to the seductive powers of art.  

About The Author

Mary Quinlan-McGrath is associate professor of art history at Northern Illinois University.

Details & Specs

Title:Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian RenaissanceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 20, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226922847

ISBN - 13:9780226922843

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

1. The Study of the Heavens Is Holy: The Cosmos, the Creator, Vision, and the Soul
2. Let There Be Light: Rays in the Macrocosm
3. Celestial Rays and the Earthly World of Change
4. The Physical Nature of Vision, the Material Image, and the Soul
5. Early Modern Ecosystems: The City, the Building, the Person
6. Architectural Theory and Astrological Foundations: Three Case Studies
7. The Hidden Power in a Picture: How Celestial Rays Are Trapped in Images
8. Look, Reflect, Be Changed: The Great Astrological Vaults of the Italian Renaissance

Conclusion

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“This fascinating book is an original and intellectually stimulating synthesis of optical theory, astrological medicine, natural philosophy, psychology, theology, architecture, and painting that sheds new light on the deep cultural embeddedness of art in late medieval and Renaissance culture. Quinlan-McGrath breaks new ground, brings together fields that need to communicate more, and offers striking interpretations of Renaissance art by fleshing out the neglected intellectual presuppositions of its practitioners and patrons.”