Art, Science and Mineral at the Turning of Eras, from the last Years of Enlightenment through the Twilight of Romanticism


Muriel Brot, Michael Bycroft, Michel Collot, Antonia Fonyi, Pierre-Henri Frangne, Anne Geisler, Christian Giusti, Pierre Glaudes (organiser), Jean-Nicolas Illouz, Sophie Lefay, Patrick Marot, David McCallam, Bernard Moninot, Didier Philippot, Pascal Pierlot, Claude Reichler (organiser), Baldine Saint Girons (organiser), Emma Sdegno, Susanne Stacher, Anouchka Vasak-Chauvet

Art, Science and Mineral at the Turning of Eras, from the last Years of Enlightenment through the Twilight of Romanticism
by Pierre Glaudes, Claude Reichler and Baldine Saint Girons
8 – 13 April, 2019



Muriel Brot Michael Bycroft Michel Collot Antonia Fonyi Pierre-Henri Frangne Anne Geisler Christian Giusti Pierre Glaudes Jean-Nicolas Illouz Sophie Lefay Patrick Marot David McCallam Bernard Moninot Didier Philippot Pascal Pierlot Claude Reichler Baldine Saint Girons Emma Sdegno Susanne Stacher Anouchka Vasak-Chauvet Avoir une âme pour les pierres

From 8 to 13 April 2019, the seminar “To have a soul for stones. Arts, sciences and minerality, from the turn of the Enlightenment to the twilight of Romanticism” brought together at the Fondation des Treilles twenty participants representing various fields of knowledge: philosophers, literature, science historians, art historians, a geologist, an artist. A geological excursion organized by Christian Giusti made the minerality sensitive and visible, thanks to a landscape analysis around Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. A diptych extension of the 2016 seminar on clouds, this multidisciplinary seminar aimed to explore, through these apparent figures of stability that are stones, the same period, the threshold of our modernity, in terms of epistemology, art and literature. Witnesses to the most distant past, as well as to the densest and most solid state of matter, stones, ores and crystals seem to be the very figures of permanence, of origin and of the elementary. However, our work has highlighted a paradox and tried to understand it: when, at the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century, ancient natural history was specified in several sciences – geology, crystallography, mineralogy – the stones were drawn into a thought of impermanence, of what is unstable and complex. The period considered thus appeared during our exchanges as a key moment of reevaluation of our relationship with stones, itself an indication of a change in our relationship with the world. This reassessment is particularly reflected in a testing of the classifications, the awareness of a considerable expansion of time (geological revolution, question of the Earth Age), but also in the search for a more fraternal relationship with stone and an aesthetic renewal resulting from the questioning of the « Beau classique ». 

Keywords: stones, Enlightenment, Romanticism, arts, sciences

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