The pairing of two images to show two distinct moments in time is for us a familiar, indeed, ubiquitous rhetorical strategy, as well as a common narrative device (the essence of most half-hour make-over shows). But might the pictorial before and after itself have a history? And
how might we understand the epistemological implications of this visual
Join art historian Craig Hanson as he considers such pairings—images of either a reconstructed past and present or a present and imagined future—along with precedents for this visual technology and some challenges of such a project, including how it might matter and not matter for the history of science. Taking as hinge the late eighteenth century, the talk highlights the importance of temporal rupture (cataclysmic change) and ideologies of improvement (progress defined in relation to a point of
Craig Ashley Hanson, PhD, FSA, is Associate Professor of Art History at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work addresses the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly the relationship between art and science in Britain. He's also interested in the history of collections, patronage, and taste. He is the author of The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism (University of Chicago Press, 2009), and his articles have appeared in The Burlington Magazine, the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and
Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He’s on the editorial board of Journal18. He’s currently serving as the President of the Historians of British Art, and he is the founding editor of Enfilade, a serial newsletter updated daily for the
Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture.