Sven Dupré

Research Group Leader

Dr., Professor of History of Knowledge, Institute for Art History, Freie Universität Berlin

Residence: July 1, 2011–September 30, 2016


Sven Dupré, previously Director of the Centre of History of Science at Ghent University, is Professor of History of Knowledge at the Institute for Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin and Research Group Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. In Spring 2015 he is the Robert H. Smith Scholar in Residence for Renaissance Sculpture in Context at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His research has been supported by visiting fellowships at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) of the University of Cambridge, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and at the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science at the University of Sydney. 

He has published on a wide range of topics in the history of early modern science, technology and art in Italy, the Spanish Netherlands, the German lands, Britain and France. Recent publications include Laboratories of Art: Alchemy and Art Technology from Antiquity to the 18th Century (Springer, 2014), Art and Alchemy: The Mystery of Transformation (Hirmer, 2014)  in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, Translating Knowledge in the Early Modern Low Countries (LIT, 2012), From Earth-Bound to Satellite (Brill, 2012) and Silent Messengers (LIT, 2011). His work is also published in numerous journals, including Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Netherlands Yearbook for Art History, Synthese, and Intellectual History Review.

Sven Dupré is currently working on a monograph on Renaissance cultures of optics; and a book project (with Christine Göttler) on the inventory of the possessions of the Portuguese merchant-banker Emmanuel Ximenes in early seventeenth-century Antwerp.

He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Nuncius, Science in Context and Studium, an associate editor of History of Humanities, a former member of the advisory board of Isis, co-editor of Nuncius book series on material and visual history of science, and a member of the Académie Internationale d’ Histoire des Sciences in Paris. 

Talks and presentations

February 2015 “The Making of a Global Knowledge Society in the Low Countries”,The Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture, University of California, Los Angeles
February 2014 “Understanding Celestial Light through Precious Stones: From the Jeweller's Culture of Optics to Natural Philosophy“, Institute for Advanced Study, Durham University
June 2013 “To Do or Not To Do. The Translation of Artisanal Knowledge”, Conference “Translation and the Circulation of Knowledge in Early Modern Science”, London, The Warburg Institute
May 2013 "Galileo, the Telescope and the Renaissance Culture of Glass“, The Crawford Lecture, University of Edinburgh
February 2013 “Recipes and Images: Writing about the Visual, Visualizing Knowledge in Early Modern Antwerp“, Friends Lectures Series “Visualizing Knowledge in Early Modern Europe“, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

Teaching activities

WS 2014/15 FU Berlin, Seminar: Technical Art History
SS 2014 FU Berlin, Seminar: Alchemy and Art: The Mystery of Transformation
WS 2013/14 FU Berlin, Seminar: Optics and Perspective in Early Modern Art
SS 2013 FU Berlin, Colloquium: Künstlerwissen. The History and Theory of Artists' Knowledge
WS 2012/13 FU Berlin, Seminar: The Material Culture of Knowledge: Objects of Art and Science in the Early Modern History of Collecting