The Alchemist

On 29 November 2019, the Belgian National Centre for History of Science organizes a symposium to discuss Bruegel’s relation to the world of learning.

During the sixteenth century, knowledge of the natural world spread rapidly among a growing audience of collectors, artists, printers, and philosophers. Knowledge materialized in the form of botanical gardens, cabinets of curiosity, and an array of illustrated natural history books. The visual arts played a crucial role in the description and interpretation of the new cultural landscape.

In which ways did Bruegel incorporate the new knowledge into his work? How does his work reflect or comment on the more scholarly activities of humanists or philosophers?

More broadly, the symposium will address the relationship between the visual arts and the culture of curiosity that marked the beginning of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century.

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