Circular Thinking: The Drawing Compass as a Tool of Creation in Premodern Europe, 10 & 11 June, 5:30–7pm BST (online)

Megan McNamee's picture
June 10, 2021 to June 11, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Intellectual History, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies

Circular Thinking is an online lecture, short papers and panel discussion devoted to the drawing compass, an essential tool of premodern makers that came to represent divine Creation. Although now associated primarily with architecture, the compass was a transmedial instrument, integral to a range of artisanal operations, yet evidence of its use is relatively thin. Through discussion and close study of historical evidence, Circular Thinking seeks to impart a more precise understanding of the compass’s varied uses — in measurement, scaling, copying and the generation of diverse shapes in two and three dimensions — and, with this, its symbolic force. The programme is made possible through the generous support of the Warburg Institute and the Leverhulme Trust.

Lecture, Thursday, 10 June 5:30–7:00pm BST (online)

Professor Robert Bork, University of Iowa
Circles Below the Surface: The Role of the Compass in Premodern Creativity

Short Papers & Panel Discussion, Friday, 11 June 5:30–7:00pm BST (online)

Dr. Sarah Griffin, Winchester College
Constructing the Calendars in the Diagrams of Opicinus de Canistris (1296-c. 1352)

Professor Jean-Marie Guillouët, University of Burgundy, Dijon 
Testimony of Construction Practices in Some Late Medieval Compass Traceries

Dr. Stephen Johnston, History of Science Museum, University of Oxford
Drawing and the Design Process in Mathew Baker’s Fragments of Ancient English Shipwrightry

Professor Robert Bork will join the group for discussion and Q&A

Dr. Megan C. McNamee, University of Edinburgh

Circular Thinking is free and open to all, booking required.