Marlise Rijks

Man-made. Process Appreciation in Early Modern Europe,1550-1700

Traditionally, the early modern period has been interpreted as a time when the arts were elevated to the level of the liberal arts, whereas the sciences became based upon tangible experiments. There is an intriguing paradox to this story: on the one hand, there was a trend towards intellectualization; on the other hand, there was an increasing appreciation for the process of making – what I will call ‘process appreciation’. At the Herzog August Bibliothek I am investigating the appreciation for the artisanal making-process by looking at the (al-)chemical counterfeiting of natural materials (such as gemstones, pearls, and coral). By looking at recipe books, correspondences, prints, and inventories, I want to investigate how the appreciation for the artisanal making-process impacted taste and ownership of objects, and the invention of new techniques and new materials.