Sven Dupre

(Jul 2011-Sep 2016)

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

Sven Dupré is Professor and Chair of History of Art, Science and Technology at Utrecht University and Director of the project ‘Technique in the Arts: Concepts, Practices, Expertise, 1500-1950’, supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant.  Previously he was Professor of History of Knowledge at the Freie Universitat and Director of the Research Group ‘Art and Knowledge in Premodern Europe’ at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.. His research has been supported by visiting fellowships at Victoria and Albert Museum in London, 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. 

Dupré's research is at the crossroads of art history and the the history of science and technology. He is a member of the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities at Utrecht University as well as actively involved in research in technical art history at the Ateliergebouw in Amsterdam, where the Rijksmuseum, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the University of Amsterdam combine their knowledge in the field of restoration and preservation of art objects. Dupré has published on a wide range of topics on 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.

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.






No current projects were found for this scholar.

Alum—A Material at the Crossroads of the Arts, Crafts, and Learned Inquiry


Art and Alchemy


Art, Natural Science, Local History and the New World in Counter–Reformation Antwerp: The Collection of the Portuguese Merchant-Banker Emmanuel Ximenez


Artists’ Optical Knowledge


Color in Nature and Color in Art


Early Modern Art Technologies and Materials


Early Modern Color Worlds


Exhibition Project on Art and Alchemy


Selected Publications

Dupré, Sven (2019). “How-to Optics.” In Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics, ed. S. Dupré, 279–300. Turnhout: Brepols.

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Dupré, Sven, ed. (2019). Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics. Techne: Knowledge, Technique, and Material Culture 1. Turnhout: Brepols.

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Dupré, Sven (2015). “Review of: McCall, Timothy, Sean Roberts and Giancarlo Fiorenza (eds): Visual cultures of secrecy in early modern Europe. Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press 2013.” Isis 106 (1): 176–177.…

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Dupré, Sven (2015). “Über die Schwierigkeit der Beschreibung alchemischer Techniken : Johannes Kunckels Übersetzung der ‘Arte vetraria’ von Antonio Neri.” In Magia daemoniaca, magia naturalis, zouber : Schreibweisen von Magie und Alchemie in…

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Past Events


Berliner DoktorandInnenforum der Wissenschaftsgeschichte


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

“The Making of a Global Knowledge Society in the Low Countries”,The Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture, University of California, Los Angeles
“Understanding Celestial Light through Precious Stones: From the Jeweller's Culture of Optics to Natural Philosophy“, Institute for Advanced Study, Durham University
“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
"Galileo, the Telescope and the Renaissance Culture of Glass“, The Crawford Lecture, University of Edinburgh
Royal College of Art / Victoria and Albert Museum London, Seminar: The Science of Stones and the Plastic Arts in the Early Modern Period
FU Berlin, Seminar: Recipes for Art: Art Technological Sources in Context
FU Berlin, Seminar: Technical Art History
FU Berlin, Seminar: Alchemy and Art: The Mystery of Transformation
FU Berlin, Seminar: Optics and Perspective in Early Modern Art

Nachrichten & Presse

Neue Datenbank online: „Color Context: A Database on Color Practice and Knowledge“ der Forschungsgruppe „Künstlerwissen im frühneuzeitlichen Europa“ (geleitet von Sven Dupé) und der FNRS/University of Liège.