Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Wonders in the Renaissance

  • Lily FilsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_983-1


“Wonder” can describe both an object as well as the emotion it elicits, and the Renaissance reaction to these stimuli demonstrates marked departure in the intellectual history of previous ages. This age was defined by an embrace and indeed appetite for the production and collection of such objects, grounded in psychological, sociological, and political constructs of the day. Wonder became less of a transgression in a realm of knowledge from which one was believed to be excluded by divine fiat (as with the essentially medieval attitude towards the mysteries of nature and man’s inclination to curiosity) and more a pursuit of learned European culture from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries onwards. Objects which elicited this wonder, whether they were naturally formed (or deformed in many cases) or man-made displays of technology and virtuosity, enjoyed a new prestige and position at the court and dedicated collections, the celebrated wunderkammern and similar encyclopedic arrangements throughout the continent.

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Primary Literature

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia delle Scienze FormativeCa’ Foscari University of VeniceVeniceItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Matteo Valleriani
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany