Ingenuity in the Making offers a cornucopia of new insights into the ways in which early modern women and men attributed powerful qualities to the processes of nature and the acts of their own bodies and minds. It expands the notion of ingenuity from its narrow definition as intellectual creativity into the much broader realm of mechanical, technical, and perceptual skills, and thus sheds new light on makers and innovators outside the accepted notion of artists who were still struggling for social recognition and institutional acceptance.
Ingenuity in the Making explores the myriad ways in which ingenuity shaped the experience and conceptualization of materials and their manipulation in early modern Europe. Contributions range widely across the arts and sciences, examining objects and texts, professions and performances, concepts and practices. The book considers subjects such as spirited matter, the conceits of nature, and crafty devices, investigating the ways in which ingenuity acted in and upon the material world through skill and technique. Contributors ask how ingenuity informed the “maker’s knowledge” tradition, where the perilous borderline between the genius of invention and disingenuous fraud was drawn, charting the ambitions of material ingenuity in a rapidly globalizing world.
A rich treasure chamber full of carefully crafted gems of scholarship, this collection brings together abundant and original evidence that concepts of ingenuity in early modern Europe had as much to do with the making and materials of art as with the excellence of intellect. The fascinating case studies assembled in this volume illuminate the polyvalent cultural meanings of materials and of artistic processes at this time.
Richard J. Oosterhoff is lecturer in early modern history at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Making Mathematical Culture: University and Print in the Circle of Lefèvre d’Étaples and coauthor of Logodaedalus: Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe.
José Ramón Marcaida is lecturer in art history at the University of St Andrews, where he works on the intersections of art and science in the early modern Hispanic world. He is the author of Arte y ciencia en el Barroco español. Historia natural, coleccionismo y cultura visual and coauthor of Logodaedalus: Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe.
Alexander Marr is reader in the history of early modern art at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity Hall. He is the author of Rubens’s Spirit: From Ingenuity to Genius and coauthor of Logodaedalus: Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe.