By Dániel Margócsy
Margócsy introduces a few ordinary historians, physicians, and curiosi in Amsterdam, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris who, of their efforts to spice up their exchange, constructed sleek taxonomy, invented colour printing and anatomical training suggestions, and contributed to philosophical debates on issues starting from human anatomy to Newtonian optics. those medical practitioners, together with Frederik Ruysch and Albertus Seba, have been out to do company: they produced and offered unique curiosities, anatomical prints, preserved specimens, and atlases of usual historical past to clients everywhere in 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 interesting publication should be warmly welcomed by means of someone attracted to early sleek technology, international alternate, artwork, and culture.
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Additional info for Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age
Instead, they served to increase sales by praising the author’s scientific discoveries and the visualizing power of wax injection, and to offer a catalogue of all the preparations that customers might be interested in buying. Importantly, de Bils and ruysch intended to maintain a monopoly over their method of preparations. None of their printed works ever disclosed how these specimens were produced. The circulation of these works did not contribute to the open exchange of useful knowledge. In the 1690s, the Leiden professor Govard Bidloo launched a major attack against ruyschian preparations, and argued that anatomical atlases offered a better way to represent the human body.
Once Collinson received Amman’s letter, he would open his own copy of Parkinson. Looking at the relevant entry, he would be able to easily decipher Amman’s reference. Although this coding system might appear cumbersome, Collinson clearly preferred it over Linnaeus’ revolutionary taxonomy, which used the reproductive organs of plants to identify species. While the Linnean system might have been useful to class species into higher genera in theory, most collectors were unable to carefully observe the reproductive organs in their own specimens.
Winning a debate could mean scientific credit and financial gains. Consequently, Commercial Visions argues, the modern, scientific, empirical culture of facts was riddled with contradictions from the beginning. While visual facts were available in large numbers, there were no commonly accepted protocols for the evaluation of their validity. The naturalists involved in the commerce of curiosities were not interested in a disinterested cooperation with each other to determine what counted as truthful knowledge.