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Muster der Renaissance


Arachne: Weaving and the Origin of Technè in the Renaissance

Jérémie Koering

Online veröffentlicht:

04 Mar 2024



During the Renaissance, the spider, as well as its mythological double Arachne, came to represent a form of technical exemplarity doubled by a form of practical intelligence. Some artists, such as Joris Hoefnagel and Tintoretto, made the spider a figure of artistic subtlety, allowing them to situate art in an intertwining of making and thinking. But how could the activity of an insect become an artistic paradigm? What imaginaries could have favored this assumption? Under what conditions could a figure as vile and disturbing as the spider or as negative as its mythological double Arachne be set up as examples to follow? This essay attempts to answer these questions by bringing together mythological representation, emblematic thought, and natural philosophy.

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