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162 - 60th International Seminar, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, 2016

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60th International Seminar Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies

"In Praise of Light and Shadows"

Rossella Lupacchini
Associate Professor, Università di Bologna (Italy)

Course Description

Transforming the Medieval “science of light” (geometric optics) into a “science of vision” (artificial perspective), European Renaissance artists paved the way for a theory of knowledge grounded on representation. For Leibniz, however, representation is only a passive copy, whereas knowledge draws correlations between different things and therefore requires also a “doctrine of shadows”, which is drawn from perspective once the light replaces the eye, the opaque replaces the object, and the shadow replaces the projection. Thus, Leibniz's reverse perspective might help clarify the significance of visual forms in Western and Eastern thought.