Tal Brit


Department of Art History

Subject: Philosophia Naturalis in 14-16th century and the Representation of Nature in the Art of North Italy

Supervisor: Dr. Lola Kantor-Kazovsky

Abstract: In my research I intend to trace the Medieval taxonomy of plants, Wild Men, landscapes and texts of Philosophia Naturalis, in the visual iconography of goddess Natura: starting with theological writings and ending with the private canvases commissioned by North Italian aristocrats in the Quattrocento and the Cinquecento. The Iconongraphical interpretations of canonical canvases such as the (so called) “Venus” of Giorgione, and other mysterious females, is still vague and unidentified, in spite of the vast amount of textual and visual precedents. I will claim that the detailed geology as well as the figurative characters, are allegorical representations of Natura, and a result of a synthesis between the Medieval tradition of Philosophia Naturalis and the Humanistic culture. For each of the cosmographical components of the Medieval Philosophia Naturalis there is an essential origin in Pliny’s encyclopedic Historia Naturalis which received a new kind of attention in the Trecento. I believe it would be justified to explore the misconstrued compositions of these private canvases through that encyclopedic perspective, which seem to have been dominant in patronage culture during the Quattrocento and Cinquecento. I will use them as both the objects of research and as its focus. In addition to previous interpretations of these motifs, I believe that a further understanding of the philosophical contemplation over the relations between the creations of Man versus those of Nature would suffice a more objective understanding of these compositions. As a result, I hope it will deepen our general view of North Italian artists and their patrons.

Bio: A Phd student in the Art History department in the Hebrew University; Studying North Italian allegories and their visual representation in the Quattrocento and the Cinquecento; Teaching ancient Art and Though in the Israeli Arts and Science Academy; An avid lecturer and organizer of various courses and conferences in the scholarly arena.

Rotenstreich Scholarship 2021/22

President Stipend 2018/19