Symposium—Prudence, Techne, and the Practice of Good Governance in the Earl...

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Bard Graduate Center

38 West 86th Street

New York, NY 10024

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In 1565, Leo Quiccheberg wrote a brief dedication to Emperor Maximilian II, recommending his brother Samuel Quiccheberg’s treatise on collecting, the Inscriptiones vel tituli Theatri amplissimi, which would be published later in the same year. By reading Samuel’s book, the ruler would learn “… what, from founding a theater of this sort, might be gained for Your Majesty’s prudentia from such a Kunstkwunderkammer.” Written at the moment when the Habsburgs, Wittelsbachs, and other princely houses were first establishing collections as state institutions, this is among the earliest texts to connect museums with the ability to govern wisely and effectively. Both Leo and Samuel employ prudentia in specific reference to Aristotelian phronesis, the form of contingent wisdom required of rulers to respond to constantly changing circumstances. Above all, as Samuel’s treatise makes clear, a Kunstkammer might aid the ruler’s prudentia through technological development, especially at the service of the state’s economy and military, but also religion and learning. This conference explores the intertwined histories and philosophies of governance, techne, and collecting in the early-modern period. In particular, speakers will examine how the intersection of these three realms was informed by a newly pragmatic sensibility.

Image: Diego de Saavadra Fajardo, Idea de vn principe politico christiano, rapresentada en cien empresas (Milan, 1642).

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Bard Graduate Center

38 West 86th Street

New York, NY 10024

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