Jose Ramon Marcaida Research

My research explores the generation and transmission of natural knowledge in the context of early modern Spain and its transoceanic territories. By highlighting the global dimensions of the Hispanic empire, my aim is to reflect on the large-scale magnitude of its knowledge-making programme and the connections with other critical imperial enterprises such as commerce, exploration, war and religious expansion.

I’m interested in the role of images and image-making practices in these processes. In particular, I’m interested in naturalistic visualization as part of a much richer visual culture, which in the early Baroque European setting would be associated with the rise of art collecting and the development of pictorial genres such as still-life, gallery or vanitas painting.

Continuing with some of the themes studied in my PhD dissertation (Juan Eusebio Nieremberg y la ciencia del Barroco. Conocimiento y representación de la naturaleza en la España del siglo XVII, CSIC-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2011), I’m working on:

  •  J. E. Nieremberg’s Historia naturae (1635) and its connection with the materials from the Francisco Hernández expedition
  • The representation of the bird of paradise (from Gesner to Rubens)
  • Natural knowledge, art and collecting in Philip IV’s Madrid: Juan de Espina and Juan van der Hamen

Of possible interest for members of the “Origins of Science as a  Visual Pursuit: the case of the early Royal Society” Project:

I’m interested in the reception of J. E. Nieremberg in Britain, particularly through references to his work in the writings of such authors as Robert Boyle, John Ray, Francis Willughby and Hans Sloane. My aim is to turn the uses of Nieremberg’s Historia naturae (1635) as a source of information on Francisco Hernández /American natural history into a case study of issues like credit and authority and the circulation of knowledge.

For those interested in the Iberian context: I’m a member of a research project entitled “Picturing Nature. Science and visual culture in the Early Modern Iberian world” (Principal Investigator: Juan Pimentel, CSIC, Madrid)


“Wandering Exotica. The Illustrations in Nieremberg’s Historia Naturae (1635).” In The Circulation of Science and Technology, Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science. Barcelona (forthcoming).

(with Juan Pimentel), «Dead Natures or Still Lifes? Science, Art, and Collecting in the Spanish Baroque». In Collecting Across Cultures. Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World, Daniela Bleichmar & Peter Mancall (eds), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011, pp.  99–115.

«Some notes on the connections between science, art and collecting in the Spanish Baroque culture». In Styles of Thinking in Science and Technology, Hermann Hunger, Felicitas Seebacher & Gerhard Holzer (eds.) Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science. Vienna, 2010, pp. 1170–1174.

«Portraying technology in gallery paintings». History and Technology 25, n.o 4 (2009): 391–397.

About Jose Ramon Marcaida

I’m a historian of science interested in the history of early modern Iberian science and its connection with Renaissance and Baroque visual culture. More generally, I’m interested in the relation between texts, images and things across the Humanities.
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1 Response to Jose Ramon Marcaida Research

  1. Pingback: The curiously drawn line on which Art meets Science | Origins of Science as a Visual Pursuit

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