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The Modern Wonder And Its Enemies: Courtly Innovations In The Spanish Renaissance

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Chapter Summary

No other technical project of the Spanish ?Golden Age? stirred as much interest among the contemporaries. In the Tesoro de la lengua castellana the mechanism in Toledo exemplifies the mechanical invention as such. This chapter focuses on this technological project of the renaissance, and its development and impact. It traces the outlines of Juanelo Turriano?s biography and places his activities in the context of the medieval tradition of ?courtly mechanics?. This context subsisted throughout the 16th century, although with substantial modifications. The chapter then dwells on the contrast between the hostilities to which Turriano was exposed by the urban community, and the enthusiasm expressed by the majority of the artistic and literary elite with regard to his invention. Finally, it deals with the contractual ?architecture? of the project and outlines basic elements of a general model of financing for innovation.

Keywords: courtly mechanics; Juanelo Turriano; mechanical invention; Spanish renaissance; Tesoro de la lengua castellana; Toledo; urban community



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