Landascape Drawing, Anthopomorphism and the Female Body in Renaissance Switzerland

Niklaus Manuel
and Urs Graf

Landascape Drawing, Anthopomorphism and the Female Body in Renaissance Switzerland

Alexander Marr

22 November 2022 – 5 PM (CET)

This paper argues how perspiration could undergo a drastic reconceptualisation in eighteenth-century medicine.

Thanks to Santorio Santori’s famous studies with the weighing chair, the ancient notion of insensible perspiration continued to be perceived as essential to one’s health. But despite its emphasis on quantification, Santorio’s work reflected long-standing views on perspiration closely aligned to digestion and health as balance of humours.

Dutch physicians of the Boerhaave school instead paid particular attention to the role of microscopic nerves and nervous juice. Johannes de Gorter, for example, incorporated chemical examinations and neurological descriptions to develop a more detailed theory of the internal physiology of perspiration.

It allowed him to explain diseases like catarrh (similar to the common cold), and to justify the efficacy of his preferred treatment—sal ammoniac—which made his patients sweat out the disease.

So the concept of insensible perspiration continued to play a pivotal role in the preservation of health throughout the early modern period. Yet how it exactly worked, changed significantly at the turn of the eighteenth century.


About the Speakers ...

Alexander Marr is Professor of the History of Early Modern Art at the University of Cambridge

He specialises in Early Modern art and architecture, particularly their intellectual and scientific aspects. He is currently writing books on Peter Paul Rubens and on “ingenuity” in early modern art & science.

As Director of Studies Professor Marr is responsible for the academic progress of History of Art students in college. He works closely with students to ensure the Library is well stocked with the books required for the course, and meets regularly with students throughout the year to ensure their work is progressing smoothly.



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