The Newberry Library Colloquium

"Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance"
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

4 – 5 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Mary Quinlan-McGrath, Professor in Art History, Northern Illinois University

Today few would think of astronomy and astrology as fields related to theology. Fewer still would know that physically absorbing planetary rays was once considered to have medical and psychological effects. But this was the understanding of light radiation held by certain natural philosophers of early modern Europe. Mary Quinlan-McGrath, author of Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology, argues that this understanding caused educated people of the Renaissance to commission artworks centered on astrological themes and practices. This presentation will provide an overview of the text, including images of great vault frescoes that have incorporated these beliefs.

The Newberry Library Colloquium is a weekly gathering of Newberry staff members, fellows, scholars-in-residence, and readers on Wednesday afternoon in the Towner Fellows’ Lounge. Refreshments are available at 3:30 pm and an informal presentation begins at 4 pm, followed by discussion. The talks are varied, but all relate to the Newberry collections in some way. Speakers may describe a current research project, highlight a particular collection, or discuss one of the Library’s many ongoing or special programs. The Colloquium is open to the public and no reservations are required.

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