The third part of the St Petersburg University online course series will cover two significant periods in history that gave the world many great scholars and creators, discoveries and inventions: the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

The video lectures in the course “Optics and Art: From Antiquity to the 17th Century. Part 2” chronologically address the advances in scientific thought made by prominent figures in science and the arts. The audience will be introduced to the views on the nature of colour, light and vision of the leading figures of the Renaissance: François d’Aguilon; Filippo Brunelleschi; Leonardo da Vinci; and Giambattista della Porta. The students will be able to trace the transmission of revolutionary Enlightenment scientific thought from Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei to their followers and the evolution of their ideas in the texts of later authors.

The second part of the St Petersburg University online course series on science, arts and technology focuses on the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, which were not as dark as is commonly believed.

The online course introduces the contents of the most important optics treatises of those times; explains how the main optical instruments of those times − the camera obscura and the “magic lantern” − worked; and explains how the emerging science of the time influenced artists and was reflected on their paintings.

At the end of the course, the students will learn how to: analyse art and other texts for references to specific historical events; compare historical events and determine the adequacy of the dating of facts from the history of science; and be able to work out which scientific achievement influenced the appearance of specific artefacts.

The programme is intended for a wide audience and is suitable for everyone who is interested in the art, history and philosophy of science.

The original article can be found here.

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