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Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits, 1660-2000

Jordanova, Ludmilla

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ISBN 10: 1861890591 / ISBN 13: 9781861890597
Verlag: Reaktion Books, 2000
Gebraucht Zustand: Good Trade Paperback
Verkäufer Ken Spelman Books ABA, PBFA. (est 1948) (York, Vereinigtes Königreich)

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Defining Features: Scientific and Medical ...

Verlag: Reaktion Books

Erscheinungsdatum: 2000

Einband: Trade Paperback


Über diesen Titel


Portraiture as a genre is receiving increased attention at the same time that public curiosity about science is reaching unprecedented levels; Defining Features brings portraiture and science together. Ludmilla Jordanova's lucid text reflects on the nature of the relationship between art, science, medicine and technology by focusing on a selection of portraits that spans more than three centuries. Illustrated with likenesses of such notable personalities as Edward Jenner, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Dorothy Hodgkin, and encompassing a variety of media from paintings and medals to bookmarks and key rings, Defining Features charts changing attitudes towards medical practice and scientific investigation, as well as exploring how notions of gender, heroism, popularization and celebrity have affected the public's understanding of how researchers do their work.


Taking as its starting point the foundation of the Royal Society in 1660 , Professor Ludmilla Jordanova's survey of scientists captured in art over more than three centuries tells us equal parts about both disciplines, while with exquisite subtlety plaiting the two. Though using a "specific, yet ill-defined" group of people, her scrupulous examination of the transaction of portraiture requires it to shed layers of meaning like a Russian doll, so that what may have seemed merely a "likeness" is shown to be invested with dynamics far beyond the surface veneer. From medals, busts and notebooks through to lithographs, engravings, and of course paintings and photographs, Jordanova carefully traces the development of an accidental genre, establishing its unfocused beginnings (the notion of a scientist, after all, is a 19th-century invention), through to the marriage of philosophy and practical skills, and culminating in the modern cult of personality, with its "stars" rather than heroes. Fairly sophisticated perceptions of setting, the use of accoutrements, medium, location, and sitter-artist relations are patiently and judiciously explored, as are matters of gender and professional legitimacy. Of particular interest, perhaps because of the additional hurdles of acceptance, are the examples of women such as Mary Sommerville, Marie Curie and Dorothy Hodgkin, the latter of whom was memorably painted in later life by Maggie Hambling, and her hands, active despite being riddled with rheumatoid arthritis, sketched by Henry Moore. In taking the scientist from the laboratory Jordanova shows a life beyond the lab coat and microscope, and her apposite illustrations, taken from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (an institution which has a convention of a room dedicated to scientists) are as various as they are appropriate. The chances are that you won't take a portrait at face value again, for Jordanova has done valuable service in quietly focusing on art in science--and vice versa--within a socio-historical context. As she concludes: "Portraits are frozen moments of elaborate processes; as such, they reveal social negotiations, not individual character." -- David Vincent

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Fine, Rare and Antiquarian as well as Academic Books on a very wide range of subjects, particularly Art, Architecture, Design, Landscape Gardening, Aesthetics, Manuscripts, The Grand Tour,and 18th century Literature & History. Over 40,000 titles in stock. Fine illustrated catalogues issued 6 times a year, please write to receive these. Established 1948. Member of ABA, ILAB and PBFA. Owner: Tony Fothergill

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