By Dániel Margócsy
Margócsy introduces a couple of ordinary historians, physicians, and curiosi in Amsterdam, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris who, of their efforts to spice up their exchange, built sleek taxonomy, invented colour printing and anatomical instruction options, and contributed to philosophical debates on themes starting from human anatomy to Newtonian optics. those clinical practitioners, together with Frederik Ruysch and Albertus Seba, have been out to do company: they produced and bought unique curiosities, anatomical prints, preserved specimens, and atlases of ordinary historical past to shoppers all over the global. Margócsy unearths how their entrepreneurial rivalries reworked the scholarly global of the Republic of Letters right into a aggressive marketplace.
Margócsy’s hugely readable and fascinating ebook should be warmly welcomed through an individual drawn to early smooth technology, international exchange, paintings, and culture.
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Additional info for Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age
45 Indeed, although some curiosities circulated as gifts, many naturalists drew a significant income from selling them for money. As we saw in the introduction, when the German traveler Baron Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach visited Amsterdam in 1711 he found there a thriving curiosity trade with specialized shops selling shells and other naturalia to tourists and other customers. Cornelis de Man’s mid-seventeenth-century painting of The Curiosity seller offers a rare glimpse into the world of these shops.
The Swiss natural historian came to russia in 1733 at the bright age of 26. A cosmopolitan of the eighteenth century, Amman was typical of how early modern naturalists moved around during their careers and established multinational connections. He trained in Leiden during the 1720s under the famed physician Hermann Boerhaave. The early 1730s found him in London where he managed the private collection of the wealthy physician and royal Society president Hans Sloane, which became the British Museum after the owner’s death.
Yet even small specimens could be exchanged at a distance only if one had an established system for identifying them in their correspondence. 96 These encyclopedias’ role in facilitating the commerce of specimens contributed to their transformation. The entries became shorter and the illustrations focused on classifying and identifying specimens by a few distinctive features. In other words, taxonomical works replaced the earlier, renaissance histories of nature. In the third chapter, the business of producing such encyclopedias of natural history is explored through the example of Albertus Seba’s monumental Thesaurus.