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Grant number like: FA-51848-05

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Sarah Rachel Cohen
SUNY Research Foundation, Albany (Albany, NY 12222-0001)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 5/31/2006

Picturing Animals in the Age of Enlightenment: Art, Science, and Soul

I shall complete a book examining the artistic fascination with animals in northern European art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I relate this pre-occupation to the rise of empirical science and to materialistic understandings of the body, both animal and human, and I interpret the artworks through the lens of the early modern debate over animal soul. A key argument that runs throughout the book is the implication of the human in the representation of the animal; I argue that the philosophical debate over animal soul was fuelled by concerns over the status of the human soul, and I show that the animal imagery also constantly invoked the human, as if to question and probe the relation between the two.