Wonders of nature and artifice: the Renaissance quest for knowledge

Felicia photo 3.jpg

Offered at Gettysburg College in the Fall of 2012 this interdisciplinary course explores the quest for knowledge undertaken by Renaissance naturalists and collectors, whose wonders of nature and artifice were displayed in elaborate gardens, illustrated books and remarkable cabinets of curiosities. Students examine the influence of mercantile trade and geographic exploration and the role of art, print culture and innovations in technologies. We look at how the collections of political rulers, such as the Hapsburgs and the Medici, expressed their personalities, ambitions and power, as well as examining the collections of various merchants and early naturalists.

The course culminates in a hands-on group project; the creation of a "Gettysburg cabinet" in the Gettysburg College Schmucker Art Gallery. Students have learned to work with collectors and collections, how to organize, display and research material that led to our understanding of the natural world, and how to relate this to the history of science and society.

Contact information

Dr. Kay Etheridge, Department of Biology

Email: ketherid@gettysburg.edu


Dr. Felicia Else, Department of Art and Art History

Email: felse@gettysburg.edu

Molly Reynolds, Peer Learning Associate

Email: reynmo01@gettysburg.edu

Interactive Panorama of the exhibition and and other image links:

View a panorama of the Gettysburg Wonder Cabinet exhibition.

View the interactive panorama with highlights from the show.

More exhibition images

Gettysburg press release on exhibition