Body of Knowledge: Renaissance Armor and the Engineering of Mind = Cuerpos del conocimiento: armaduras del Renacimiento y la ingeniería de la mente

Felix Jäger

Resumen


This essay charts the role of armor in Renaissance practices of knowledge. Since the advent of gunpowder warfare, armor was largely unfit for combat, yet still became a centerpiece of princely representation and was prominently displayed in early collection spaces. Rather than illustrating chivalric virtues or antiquarian taste, such suits in my reading signal a shift towards a physiological fashioning of learning. Through juxtaposing two key sets of armor – one ‘gothic’ suit situated in the studiolo, the other a ‘grotesque’ garniture for a chamber of curiosities –, my paper traces how these embodied settings conflated epistemological with political sensibilities. While the earlier ensemble acted as a mnemonic ‘prosthesis’ that enhanced the mind of the wearer, the latter evoked natural history imagery to remap the order of things around personal authority. Objects of armor thus spotlight the interplay of material and political culture in engineering the early modern subject.

El presente ensayo traza el papel de las armaduras en las costumbres renacentistas del conocimiento. Desde la aparición de las armas de pólvora, las armaduras dejaron de ser apropiadas para el combate, si bien todavía constituyeron una pieza central de representaciones principescas y fueron ampliamente expuestas en espacios de colección. En lugar de ilustrar las virtudes caballerescas o los estilos como antigüedades, estas vestimentas señalan, a mi entender, un giro hacia el conocimiento fisiológico de la moda. A través de la yuxtaposición de dos conceptos clave de las armaduras –uno como vestimenta gótica emplazada en el studiolo (taller de arte), otro como decoración «grotesca» en una sala de curiosidades – mi texto indaga cómo estos elementos ajustados al cuerpo confrontaban las sensibilidades epistemológicas y políticas. Mientras que las primeras actuaban como una prótesis que fortalece la mente del que las usa, las segundas evocan la imaginería de la historia natural para recolocar el orden de las cosas alrededor de la autoridad personal. Las armaduras enfocan de este modo la interacción entre la cultura material y la política en el desarrollo del sujeto moderno.


Palabras clave


Armor; body politics; mnemonics; prosthesis; studiolo; natural history; chamber of curiosities; automata = Armadura; política corporal; prótesis; studiolo (taller de arte); historia natural; sala de curiosidades; automata.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/etfvii.6.2018.22948

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