Landscapes, light are topics

BAR HARBOR — Art historian Linda Seidel will discuss late medieval and renaissance artists’ attention to the natural world and their exploration of its “secrets” and effects at an Art Meets Science Café to be held at the MDI Biological Laboratory’s Kinne Library on Monday, Aug. 1, at 5 p.m.

The title of her illustrated talk will be “Bodies in Nature: Shadows and Reflections in 15th Century Painting.”

Using Albrecht Dürer’s watercolor “View of Arco,” a rocky outcrop topped by a citadel near Lake Garda, Italy, as a superb example of landscape portrayal, Seidel will talk about what the German artist learned from one of his predecessors, the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck, whose interest in the natural world led him to introduce topographical details and previously unimagined visual effects into his work in the 1420s and 1430s.

“Attention to the rendering of landscape brought with it a profound awareness of the interaction between bodies and nature,” said Seidel. “The materials of painting had to change in order to explore this relationship. In my talk, we will look at a range of innovations in the art of the 15th century, seeing ways in which the visual arts served as a vehicle for scientific inquiry as well as aesthetic discovery.”

Seidel, who is retired from the University of Chicago, lives in New York City and is a summer resident of Hancock County. Her late husband, Michael Field, was a visiting scientist and trustee of the MDI Biological Laboratory.

The cafés are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available. Visit The next Art Meets Science Café will be held on Monday, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m. The speaker will be Carl Little, who will talk about his new book, “Art of Acadia,” written with his brother, David.

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