Rubens Professor in Residence Spring 2017
The Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Koenraad Van Cleempoel to the visiting Pieter Paul Rubens Chair for Spring 2017. Koenraad Van Cleempoel is one of the world’s foremost experts on Flemish scientific instruments of the Renaissance period, having completed his PhD at the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Studies at the University of London in 1998 with a dissertation entitled Aspects of Scientific Instruments Production in Louvain between 1550 and 1600. He is also the co-author of Spheres: The Arts of the Celestial Mechanics (Paris: J. Kugel). Specifically art historical perspectives undertaken in his work include attention to the iconography of scientific instruments in Flemish and Dutch art—in such works as Gossaert’s portrait of a young girl, the Five Senses series of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Vermeer’s Astronomer. That Van Cleempoel is an avid pursuer of yet-undiscovered scientific instruments can be seen in his substantive 2003 co-authored article, “A Recently Discovered Sixteenth-Century Spanish Astrolabe” published in Annals of Science, and in 2015, “A Newly Discovered Medieval Astrolabe with Gear Mechanism,” in Medieval Encounters (proceedings of a conference at the Warburg Institute). He holds the position of Full Professor in Art History and Vice-dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Arts of Hasselt University, the youngest and most innovative of universities in Belgium.
While at Berkeley, Professor Van Cleempoel will teach a seminar on “Sixteenth-Century Scientific Instruments as Materialized Knowledge.” We are fortunate to have the rare opportunity for such a course. It will combine notions and methods of the history of science, art and ideas with a focus on Louvain and Antwerp as centers of production of scientific instruments such as astrolabes, armillary spheres, astronomical rings and sundials in specific intellectual milieux.