Research report 2003 - Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for Art History

Construction Knowledge in Italy 1600-1750. Architects - Engineers - Mathematicians -

Schlimme, Hermann

Architekturgeschichte der Frühen Neuzeit (Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Kieven)
Bibliotheca Hertziana - MPI für Kunstgeschichte, Rom

Since the late sixteenth century an empirical, experiment-based approach to the understanding of nature came to play an ever more important role. Craft processes and especially building techniques like the construction of scaffoldings and vaulted ceilings, or the preparation of building materials, were understood as experiments with nature and as the suitable starting-point for reflections on the principles of the natural sciences. After the theory of building construction had ceased to depend entirely on classical philology and after the restrictive structures of the medieval guilds began to disintegrate, the new systematic determination of the physical foundations of craft techniques led to the accumulation of an alternative building knowledge, based on the findings of natural science. The knowledge of mathematicians or philosophers on the one hand, and architects, engineers and building workers on the other, are systematically compared and analysed for the first time in the research project "Construction Knowledge in Italy 1600-1750".

For the full text, see the German version.

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