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Natural Painting and the New Science in Seventeenth-Century Florence

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Lorenzo Lippi’s “pura imitazione del vero”

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This article compares the techniques of observation and experimentation (“esperienze”) practiced by members of the Accademia del Cimento with the “pure imitation of truth” pursued by Florentine painter Lorenzo Lippi (1606–1665). Lippi’s art reveals striking parallels between developments in the fine arts and the sciences in seventeenth-century Florence, particularly in their moral commitment towards the truthful representation of nature and a matter-of-fact style of representation. Despite these parallels, it is interesting to note that in his mock-epic Il Malmantile Racquistato, Lippi parodied the truth claims made by science as well as its modes of knowledge creation.

Affiliations: 1: Université Laval, Québec, QC


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