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Hogue-Sponenburgh Lecture: Professor Alessandro Nova at Willamette U. in #SalemOR

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Professor Alessandro Nova

‘La dolce morte’: Leonardo’s Anatomical Drawings and the Cognitive Value of Images

Prof. Alessandro Nova, Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.

April 14, 2016
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Recent progress in neurological studies has instilled renewed vigour into the discussion of the role played by images in the service of medical research and their inherent authority. What is the value of Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT)? How are such images created to appear so elementary, reassuring, and didactically adequate? Do we find ourselves before reliable representations of the organs examined? What is the relationship between what we see on the screen and reality itself? By altering and substituting the technological terms, these are questions that one could also bring to bear on the graphic practices of other centuries; for example, Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings.

It is well known how the artist had elaborated a method of representing the body based as much on a precise and accurate observation of the natural world as it was on inevitable graphic abstractions. It was Leonardo himself who recorded, in numerous notes, how the visual strategies of his sketches would sometimes distance themselves from objective reality in a desire for clarity of “exposition”, i.e. for clarity of visual representation. He was also well aware of the fact that a drawing did not constitute a reproduction that was absolutely faithful to the world but rather a distinct and flexible instrument of knowledge in dialogue with the analytic capacity of the observer. If the problems of the relationship between words and images in the work of Leonardo are comparable, beyond merely qualitative differences, with the questions raised by modern scientific illustrations and observations, the objectives of their respective projects are, on the contrary, very different.


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Location Information:
WU Campus – Law School – Room: 201 — Paulus Lecture Hall
245 Winter Street SE
Salem 97301
Phone: 503-370-6380

Contact Information:
Name: Ricardo De Mambro Santos
Phone: 5033706523
Email: rdemambr@willamette.edu

Event Sponsor(s):
The Hogue-Sponenburgh art lectureship, established and endowed by the late Janeth Hogue-Sponenburgh and Mark Sponenburgh, enables the Willamette University Department of Art History to bring a noted scholar, artist, critic, curator or art leader to campus each year to deliver a lecture and to meet informally with students and faculty.


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