K. Van Cleempoel
A Catalogue Raisonné of Scientific Instruments from the Louvain School, 1530-1600
XII+284 p., 100 b/w ill. + 26 colour ill., 200 x 260 mm, 2002
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This object-based study concentrates on scientific instruments made
in Louvain between c. 1530 and c. 1600, a period in which the
university fell from the peak of its importance into a state of
This object-based study concentrates on
scientific instruments made in Louvain between c. 1530 and c.1600, a
period in which the university fell from the peak of its importance
into a state of decline. The instruments are characterised by elaborate
decoration and by numerous technical innovations. The book comprises
two parts: an introduction followed by a catalogue raisonné of almost
ninety instruments from the Louvain masters, both signed and unsigned
ones. The introduction outlines the circumstances of the foundation of
this ‘Louvain school of instrument makers’, which entailed
the merging of an intellectual center (based in the university) and a
material culture (based in the workshops). A similar symbiosis occurred
elsewhere in Europe, but never on the scale of Louvain. The presence of
the Spanish Court in Brussels around 1540–1550 helped to provide
the workshops with important commissions. Their role as a Maecenas is
also discussed. The most important instrument makers were Gerard
Mercator, Michael Piquer, Gualterus Arsenius, Adrian Descrolières and
Adrian Zeelst. Little was previously known about these men - apart
perhaps from Mercator - and even less about the output of their
workshops. This book attempts to present for the first time a
comprehensive survey of these workshops and how they may have
influenced one another.
This publication is also distributed by: ISD
"Zijn studie opent de weg naar
verder studie van wetenschappelijke instrumenten van andere oorsprong
en andere tijdperken." (...) "De rijk geïllustreerde
Catalogue Raisonné is een uitstekend, baanbrekend werk dat in
elke bibliotheek, die zich met zonnewijzers, astrolabia en 16 eeuwse
mathematische instrumenten bezig houdt, thuis hoort." (J. De
Graeve in Scientiarum Historia, 28, 2002, 2, p.
"As David King writes in his
preface, 'The field desperately needs competent catalogues of
instruments' (p. ix) - and here we find a worthy example." (H.
Highton in British Journal for the History of Science, Vol.
38/2, June 2005, p. 225-226)