Freedberg 2002

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Freedberg, David. The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

“the simple collecting of pictures could never suffice in this endeavor. Picture making, they began to understand, was fundamentally descriptive and synthetic; it stood at odds with order and analysis. Like the old forms of rhetoric it could not completely satisfy the exigencies of logic, 11 nor convey an adequate— or even plausible— idea of the logical and systematic construction of the world. Rhetoric, as it was understood in the classical period and in the sixteenth century, was too dependent on its own devices of color, shade, and nuance— the tricks, in short, of the speaker. So too with pictures: they could not provide a sufficiently impersonal— and therefore natural— reflection of the organization and systematization of content. The point was to discover some sort of order in nature itself— free, it was hoped, of the intervention of ever labile subjectivities. As soon as Cesi set out to order the world in what he thought of as a more logical way, and to examine nature for the traces of what could be taken to be its own order, he realized the insufficiency— indeed the essential inadequacy— of pictures.” (5-6)

Importance of diagram, table, and grid instead of pictures

"Whatever pleasure he took in the first illustrations of zoological and botanical specimens to be seen under the microscope, Cesi came to realize that progress in the field of natural history could no longer come through visual record and description alone but rather through the plotting of the relationships and networks that he was now beginning to discover in the things of nature. This entailed the deployment of number and the spatial systems of geometry, rather than the descriptive processes of picturing.” (8)

"On the one hand, the new technologies of vision made a whole new world available for description; on the other, they contained within them the seeds of destruction of visual description itself.” (8)