Thursday, October 12, 2006

More on the Theatrum Machinarum

Luisa Dolza Goldstein is also exploring the theatrum machinarum. She delivered a presentation entitled "The Theatres of Machines in the Renassiance" at the 52nd annual meeting of the Renaissance Soceity of America (San Francisco, March 23-25 2005):

First published in the second half of the sixteenth century, the Theaters of Machines are dazzling illustrated books depicting a great variety of machines. Most of these panoramas of “new inventions” became bestsellers in their time. Despite the differences noted by scholars, in general the authors of these books shared the desire to show various types of machines in motion, displaying both how they worked and how they were assembled. They also sought to suggest ways in which new technical combinations might be devised to carry out different-but-related tasks. In these “theaters,” images are the predominant element while the verbal descriptions of the machines are generally no more than two pages long. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate why these books made such striking use of illustrations and to suggest how to read them.