Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment

Hardcover | October 8, 2012

byDaniela Bleichmar

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Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and energy to the creation of visual materials. European and American naturalists and artists collaborated to manufacture a staggering total of more than 12,000 botanical illustrations. Yet these images have remained largely overlooked—until now.

In this lavishly illustrated volume, Daniela Bleichmar gives this archive its due, finding in these botanical images a window into the worlds of Enlightenment science, visual culture, and empire. Through innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the histories of science, visual culture, and the Hispanic world, Bleichmar uses these images to trace two related histories: the little-known history of scientific expeditions in the Hispanic Enlightenment and the history of visual evidence in both science and administration in the early modern Spanish empire. As Bleichmar shows, in the Spanish empire visual epistemology operated not only in scientific contexts but also as part of an imperial apparatus that had a long-established tradition of deploying visual evidence for administrative purposes.

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From the Publisher

Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and ene...

Daniela Bleichmar is assistant professor in the Departments of Art History and History at the University of Southern California.F23534 Spanish/ Fondo de Cultura Economica exp, 01/26/2022

other books by Daniela Bleichmar

Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World
Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World

Paperback|Jul 12 2016

$46.31 online$47.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 10 × 8.5 × 1.1 inPublished:October 8, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226058530

ISBN - 13:9780226058535

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

INTRODUCTION
Natural History and Visual Culture in the Spanish Empire

CHAPTER ONE
A Botanical Reconquista

CHAPTER TWO
Natural History and Visual Epistemology

CHAPTER THREE
Painting as Exploration

CHAPTER FOUR
Economic Botany and the Limits of the Visual

CHAPTER FIVE
Visions of Imperial Nature: Global White Space, Local Color

CONCLUSION
The Empire as an Image Machine

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“A well-written and beautiful book… Bleichmar’s book makes an immense contribution to Spanish and Spanish-American scholarship and should be on the bookshelves of readers from many disciplines.”