Katherine M. Reinhart

Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2020-2021)

Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Insitute for Art History, Rome; Consortium for History of Science, Technology & Medicine, Philadelphia

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Images for the King: Art, Science, and Power in Louis XIV’s France

Katherine Reinhart’s book, Images for the King: Art, Science, and Power in Louis XIV’s France, is the first systematic scholarly study of the epistemic and political functions of images in the Académie royale des sciences – one of the first and most eminent scientific societies in the seventeenth century. It reveals how visual materials – from anatomical drawings to allegorical reliefs on coins – were indispensable to the Academy’s projects, providing tangible evidence of the scientific ambitions of the French state. In addition, this book accounts for the graphic and pictorial practices of the natural philosophers assembled in Paris by Louis XIV and the artists with whom they collaborated, and situates them in the larger context of the Sun King’s absolutist government and image-making program. Based on unstudied archival materials, Images for the King cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries in the histories of art and science to explore graphic skill, visual and scientific practice, patronage structures, knowledge production, and the political uses of images.

Katherine M. Reinhart is a historian of art and science in early modernity. Her research focuses on the creation, use, and circulation of images in the formation of knowledge. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, MA in History of Science & Technology from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Cambridge. She was previously a Research Associate on the project “Making Visible: The Visual and Graphic Practices of the early Royal Society” at the University of Cambridge, and the NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology & Medicine in Philadelphia. She co-convenes the CHSTM Early Modern Science Working Group and is an affiliated scholar on the project “Visualizing Science in Media Revolutions” at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome. Her research has been supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Camargo Foundation, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Her publications span various aspects of scientific visual culture, and she is the co-editor (with Sietske Fransen) of a recent issue of Word & Image on copying and knowledge making in early modern Europe.