2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

The Influence of Metaphysical Thought on Art and Science During the Renaissance
Christina M. Goehl
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

For Western Europeans during the 12th through 17th centuries, near-constant turmoil and uncertainty created a need for some sort of enlightenment concerning the events occurring around them; however, many of the world's mysteries lacked explanation. Metaphysical thought, especially ideas relating to the achievement of divine knowledge, became both popular and controversial during this period, and mystics of all types provided novel insights into otherwise-inexplicable occurrences. This research addresses some of the ways the metaphysical permeated and linked art-- through images created by Pieter Brueghel and David Teniers II, and science-- through alchemy, which even fascinated such great intellectuals as Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle. This study also explores how changing perceptions of mysticism, particularly that associated with alchemy, led to its overall demise as a practice to explain the unknown.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, Metaphysical, Chemistry, Alchemy, Art, Mysticism


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 108-2
Location: VH 1324
Time: 8:15

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