Letters & Science Big Ideas Course: Art and Science in the Middle Ages (Also History C188A)
In this course we explore the intersections of art and science in medieval, modern, and contemporary history. Our aim is twofold. First, to show the close interaction between these two fields, and of the way in which historically they have shaped each other. Leonardo, Galileo, Darwin and Einstein acted at the threshold between these two fields. Second, to turn specific instances of art/science interaction into the prism through which one can reach a fuller understanding of major historical transformations. Gutenberg and Leonardo will be the pivotal Renaissance figures, while the rise of Newtonian science and the Romantic revolution will guide us into the contemporary experience of the art/science interaction, up to the current transformation of both fields through computing and digital media. The course takes the form of a longue-durée overview that spans from the awakening of European culture through the reception of new knowledge from the Near East to the most recent encounters between artistic and scientific practice in the 21st century.