John Locke: Tabula Rasa (1689)
The Enlightenment was an era of intellectual growth and thought pertaining to God, humanity, nature, and ideology. Every aspect of life was brought into question from politics to philosophy. There were many proponents of the Enlightenment, arguably none more active than John Locke. Known as the father of "English Empiricism" Locke proposed many ideas however, his thoughts on nature vs. nurture garnered the most attention. Locke stated that human knowledge was liable to change and that humans were born as a blank slate and ones ability or senses gives him perception of the external world. Another important aspect of social interaction was gatherings called Salons. Sponsored by women of wealth these gatherings were a place of intellectual discussions, readings, and political developments. This age of reason where Europe clearly focused on rationalism, art, philosophy, and scientific methods propelled their society into a era that would define Europe and its people.
Covered Punch Bowl, 1680-1700
Enter The Dragon: The Beginnings of English Chinoiserie, (1680-1710) Many of the artworks and artifacts of this website show the influence of the Eastern culture on the people of Europe. The punch bowl above shows how the English copied the exotic imagery of Asian imports and combined it with Western influences. Labeled by John Stalker and George Parker as "japanning" this method became a English practice of layering gesso or varnish on Asian furniture to mimic their lacquer designs.
Süleymaniye Complex, Hegira 957–64 / AD 1550–7
Süleymaniye, Istanbul, Turkey
Not just one of the greatest Islamic empires but one of the most powerful dynasties was the Ottoman Empire. By overcoming their neighbors the Ottomans rose to power and expanded their vast empire under a centralized government. The Ottomans put a strict emphasis on aesthetics and decor that was prevalent in their artwork and perhaps more so in their mosques. Maintained as scared temples and holy places mosques are places of worship for those of the Islam faith. A very important distinction here is that mosques with depictions of living beings are not appropriate, this is due to the fact that the God in Islam has no physical form and should not be portrayed in this way.
Jardin des Plantes (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History. This exhibition showcases the science and art of the French from the 1789 Revolution to the July Monarchy of 1830. French's history in their art post revolution has a heavy influence on nature. The Paris Museum of Natural History with its Jardin des Plantes (depicted above), is one of two sites with plants and animals from all over the world. This scientific knowledge, improved agricultural diversity, and the influence extended to economic prosperity. Hunting for Trees showed how much France's decreasing forest was in need. This sparked a worldwide search for trees and plants whose influences are still around today.
The History.com Staff. (2009). Enlightenment. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment
Enter the Dragon:
Covered Punch Bowl, 1680-1700
Lent by a private collection
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