The Impact Of Scientific Advancements On The Thinking And Direction Of Artists
The 15th – 18th centuries CE were a period of great change in Europe in particular after a millennium of relative stagnation. Scientific advancements, cultural enlightenment and socio-economic developments combined to create new artistic opportunities and to influence the thinking and directions of artists.
In this essay I will initially provide a brief overview of scientific advancements during this time, and then relate these and the overall societal context to artistic progression. Context: Science in the 15th – 18th centuries
Science and objective thinking over the 15th to the 18th centuries increasingly escaped the constricting grip that religion had held. This is perfectly highlighted in the words of Galileo Galilei:
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use” (as cited in Rodriguez, 2013, Galileo Galilei in his own words).
Major advances were made not only in the pure sciences, but also in philosophy and scientific method; the diffusion and application of science; and the positioning of science. These advances transformed society.
In the pure sciences, there were advances in particular in mathematics, physics, astronomy, physiology and biology. The many notable contributors to mathematics included Stifel (invention of logarithms); Pitiscus (advances in trigonometry); Descartes (application of algebra to geometry); Leibniz and Newton (discovery of calculus);…