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Opening the cognitive tool-box of migrating sculptors (1680-1794): an analysis of the epistemic and semiotic structures of the republic of tools

Seyler, Katrin Jutta (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis explores the epistemic structures of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century migrating image-makers with a particular regard for producers of sculpture. By means of an analysis of journals written by the sculptor Franz Ertinger (1669 – 1747) and the glazier Jacques-Louis Ménétra (1738-c.1803) this thesis identifies an epistemic order which was contingent on the worlds of mobility of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century craftsmen. In order to advance the understanding of how artisan image-makers of this period acquired, organised and developed knowledge, the concept of a cognitive tool-box is introduced. Examining a number of cognitive tools, i. e. epistemic strategies, the thesis constructs an interpretative framework through which itinerant artisans were potentially able to derive meanings from situations, objects and communities which were unfamiliar or culturally different in some ways. Due to the emphasis on cognitive aspects, the thesis‟s principal method can be described as an epistemological history of art, taking into consideration historically specific mechanisms of interpretation, exchange and knowledge organisation, such as the building of unwritten archives of artisan histories. The thesis also addresses questions surrounding the identities of migrating craftsmen and suggests the existence of a “Republic of Tools”, tracing the career of one of its highly mobile citizens, the sculptor Johann Eckstein (1735-1817).

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Clay, Richard
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of History of Art
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
D204 Modern History
NB Sculpture
NX Arts in general
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3275
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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