Impressionism: A Feminist Reading: the Gendering of Art, Science, and Nature in the Nineteenth Century

By Norma Broude | Go to book overview

toward the end of the nineteenth century. The most notable of these occurred in 1883, when the German physicist Ernst Mach published the first edition of his Mechanics (Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwickelung historisch-kritisch dargestellt). 13 Mach's work was essentially a critique of Newtonian dynamics, which he viewed as presenting only one model among many of what our senses can tell us about nature. Reviving the philosophical tradition of Locke, Hume, and Kant in an era when few men of science were interested in philosophy, Mach advanced the "phenomenalist" theory that knowledge is made up of complexes of individual sensations and that science, rather than fixing a material reality, can only provide conceptual models that help us trace our sensations. Mach's phenomenalist approach to a theory of knowledge and its ultimate subjectivity found few adherents in the mainstream scientific community of his period. But it provided an important philosophical alternative that was congenial to the arts and to those who theorized about them and their relationship to science during this period.


CHAPTER 5
Science and the Arts

Throughout much of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, art and science were widely viewed as complementary activities. "The arts have this in common with the sciences," wrote Le Bossu in 1675, "that like the latter they are founded on reason." 14 And in France during its classical seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth century, the faith in reason prompted by the scientific revolution did indeed become a major support for art and poetry as well as for science and philosophy, promoting in both a quest for universal laws and fostering among artists the notion of a normative aesthetic -- the idea that all artists can and should achieve a universal ideal through imitation or idealization.

In England during the first half of the eighteenth century, Sir Isaac Newton's description of the refraction of light into colors and the return of colors to light -- first published in the Opticks in 1704 and then quickly popularized -- became a major source of inspiration for a whole generation of poets, who prided themselves on being "scientific" and "philosophical" and who almost deified Newton in their poetry. 15 As Alexander Pope, leader of the English neoclassical school of poetry, put it in one of his typical couplets:

Nature, and Nature's Laws lay hid in Night.
God said, Let Newton be! and All was Light.

But even among poets and artists who were not programmatically wedded to the classical ideal during this period, empirical and mechancial science could serve as a positive inspiration, providing heightened access to natural phenomena and a new rational support for aesthetic experience. These poets, too, credited Newton and his Science of Colours with restoring color to poetry and praised him, as did Pope, for flooding the world metaphorically with light. Nature poets like the proto-romantic James Thomson, author of The Seasons

-114-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Impressionism: A Feminist Reading: the Gendering of Art, Science, and Nature in the Nineteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 192

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.