Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740-1840
edited by Amy R. W. Meyers with the assistance of Lisa L. Ford
Philadelphia developed the most active scientific community in early America, fostering an influential group of naturalist-artists, including William Bartram, Charles Willson Peale, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon, whose work has been addressed by many monographic studies. However, as the groundbreaking essays in Knowing Nature demonstrate, the examination of nature stimulated not only forms of artistic production traditionally associated with scientific practice of the day, but also influenced processes not ordinarily linked to science. The often surprisingly intimate connections between and among these creative activities and the objects they engendered are explored, challenging the hierarchy that is generally assumed to have been at play in the study of nature, from the natural sciences through the fine and decorative arts, and, ultimately, popular and material culture.
Knowing Nature is included in our New Books List for April 1, 2013.