“Optical Science and Visual Arts: from Antiquity to the 17th Century. Part 1” is the second chapter of an online course authored by St Petersburg University on the history of the mutual influence between three types of human intellectual endeavours: science, arts and technology.

The course features a series of lectures on the advances in the natural sciences in antiquity and the Middle Ages by Sergei Stafeev, Professor at the Institute for Cognitive Studies and Scientific Director of the Museum of Optics.

The new online course of St Petersburg University gives an idea of: how ancient philosophers viewed the nature of light and vision; how optical instruments began to be developed; and how optical technologies evolved.

In his lectures, Professor Stafeev gives answers to many relevant questions, such as: what catoptrics deals with; what is called ‘catoptrosophy’; and who and when invented eyeglasses? He also talks about the transformation of navigation devices into masterpieces of medieval art; explains why optics is important for architecture; and reveals secrets behind the magic of Gothic cathedrals and some unique features of religious icons.

All this and much more will be covered in the online course that will take you on an unconventional journey through history. You can use this link to join the course.

The online course “Optical Science and Visual Arts: from Antiquity to the 17th century. Part 1” is supplemented by fascinating conversations of Sergei Stafeev with outstanding scientists and scholars of our time: Tatiana Chernigovskaya; Sergey Krivovichev; Francisca Foortai; and Yuri Shelepin. Drawing on their in-depth knowledge, the experts reflect on light, science, religion, art, man, and mind. They talk about the world around us and the interplay between all its components.

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