A conversation between Brussels-based psychologist and Professor Stephanie Leitch explores art history’s relevance to modern cognition. In his psychology practice, Lieven Verbrugge takes many of his cues, questions, and techniques from early modern books. His popular vlog BOLD BOOKS and BONES investigates how book history has shaped contemporary consciousness for non-specialized audiences. He has devoted a number of his cinematically arresting video posts to the art of war, the history of gender, fantastic libraries of the world, and the art of close looking, especially via the art of Pieter Bruegel.
In this episode, Vebrugge and Leitch reflect on a book of chronicles printed in Nuremberg in 1493, the Weltchronik, known to English-speaking audiences as the Nuremberg Chronicle. They argue that it was one of the first books to systematically organize information via pictures and to make that data visually searchable. As such, it can also be thought of an early Google-type search engine. Together, they inspect ideas of how images and copies of images shaped ideas about monsters, foreign peoples, and faraway places. The interview synopsizes Leitch’s current project on prints’ role in coaching and cuing early modern visual experience of the world. Her forthcoming manuscript The Art of Observation in the Early Modern Print will investigate how familiar circulating images helped viewers make visual decisions about the visible world.