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Artisanal EnlightenmentScience and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France$
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Paola Bertucci

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300227413

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300227413.001.0001

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Réaumur and the Science of the Arts

Réaumur and the Science of the Arts

(p.51) Chapter 2 Réaumur and the Science of the Arts
Artisanal Enlightenment

Paola Bertucci

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at the connections between natural history and the mechanical arts in the work of René Réaumur, a prominent member of the Académie des Sciences. It argues that his understanding of natural materials created connections among the natural world, the mechanical arts, and the world of industry and trade. For Réaumur, the history of the arts was strategic to the economic advancement of France because it would stimulate artisans to improve their techniques and promote technical literacy among entrepreneurs who owned manufactures. He conceived of the encyclopedia of the arts as an instrument that would enable the learned public to understand the true value of labor and to appreciate the actual cost of useful items.

Keywords:   René Réaumur, mechanical arts, natural history, Académie des Sciences, industry, trade, artisans, economic advancement, labor

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