The Sublunar, Field of the Arts
Patricia Falguières is Professor at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris. She has published numerous essays on Renaissance philosophy and art, classifications, indexes and the birth of the museum in modern Europe (Les Chambres des merveilles, Paris, 2003), and mannerism (Le Maniérisme: Une avant-garde au XVIᵉ siècle, Paris, 2004). She has published the French Edition of Ernst Kris, Le style rustique (Paris, 2005), and Julius von Schlosser's classic, Les cabinets d'art et de merveilles de la renaissance tardive (Paris, 2012). Her current research focuses on Renaissance technè, the inclusion of artistic practices in the Aristotelian order of knowing and making, and architectural theory.
Aristotelianism has been the philosophy of the arts. It provided an ontology of finiteness and accident immediately perceptible to "those who know about production", it delivered the coordinates of the arts practices or technai. This philosophy of the arts presents itself as a Natural Philosophy. The 16th century is its "great century": it is then that a global knowledge flourishes, full of metaphysical challenges. It assigns to the arts their field: the world « under the Moon ». Corruptibility is their sharing, they are dedicated to all the tests of material contingency, accidents, fires, breakage, moulds, rust, wear and tear. The world « under the Moon » is a continuum of constantly effervescing substances whose modalities - generation, corruption, increase, decrease, alteration, transport - are identified by each art on its behalf and « brought to perfection ». Just as the knowledge of "metals" belongs as much to the doctor as to the sculptor or miner, the knowledge of distillations, temperaments and metal hardening , which belongs to the person who knows plants and "metals", is the responsibility of the one who doses the remedies as much as the one who manufactures metal tools: the doctor, the apothecary, the sculptor, the armorer, the engraver or the watchmaker are called upon here. What distinguishes the arts: an operating knowledge that knows how to enter into the spontaneous interplay of alterations, cooking and sublimation, which is sublunar nature.