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The Art of PhilosophyVisual Thinking in Europe from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment$
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Susanna Berger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172279

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172279.001.0001

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The Generation of Art as the Generation of Philosophy

The Generation of Art as the Generation of Philosophy

(p.173) Chapter 5 The Generation of Art as the Generation of Philosophy
The Art of Philosophy

Susanna Berger

Princeton University Press

This chapter studies how early modern thinkers understood the connection between the generation of art and the generation of philosophical understanding. It argues that in this period, the generation of mental representations was understood through practices of artistic production, and that the notion of generation itself was central to philosophy. The first section explores descriptions of cognition that compare thinking to the creation of artistic works. It discusses the accounts of a broad range of artists and scholars, including Dürer and Willibald Pirckheimer (1470–1530), Bosse and Girard Desargues (1591–1661), Descartes, and others to show how constant the association between artistic generation and mental generation was in this period. The second section examines the celebrated frontispiece to the Leviathan that Bosse created in collaboration with Hobbes. It argues that previous accounts of the frontispiece have failed to capture the full complexity of this etching. It offers a new account of this famous image — one that emphasizes the process of the state's generation.

Keywords:   art, philosophical understanding, visual representation, mental representation, Dürer, Willibald Pirckheimer, Bosse, Girard Desargues, frontispiece, Leviathan

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