Jaya Remond

Jaya Remond

David and Julie Tobey Fellow
New Flowerings: Nature and the Business of Picture-Making in Early Modern Europe


Jaya Remond received her PhD in Art History from Harvard University. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Getty Research Institute (2017-2018), and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she will return in July 2018 as a visiting fellow. Her scholarly interests include northern European art ca. 1450-1750, the creation and circulation of artistic knowledge through paper tools, as well as questions of visual literacy, at the intersection of art and science. Her work has been supported by grants from Harvard University, the Kress Foundation, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, the Gerda-Henkel Stiftung, and the Max-Planck Gesellschaft.

Project Summary

Jaya’s project examines representation of the natural world, particularly botanical imagery, in Western Europe ca. 1520-1650. It focuses on the relations between Italy (chiefly Florence and Pisa) and Northern Europe (essentially the Netherlands and Southern Germany), where the most important centers for the creation and circulation of botanical knowledge emerged in the early modern period. Looking at the role of drawings as vehicles of knowledge, her research studies the ways in which North/South interactions shaped early modern botanical imagery, its innovative visual templates and imaging techniques. Botanical pictures pushed the functional boundaries of draughtsmanship: they performed drawing as science, as an intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the natural world through observation and experiment. Studying evolutions in the business of picture-making and their connections to depictions of nature, this project addresses the following questions: in which ways do so-called 'scientific' drawings fit into the larger narrative of art history and image production in early modern Europe, particularly in Italy, where a sophisticated discourse on drawing was emerging at the same time? How did northern discourses on the recreation of the Book of Nature impact southern depictions of the natural world?  And how did the exposure to previously unknown plants foster new ways of seeing and depicting nature?