Susanna Berger F'19

Susanna  Berger
Associate Professor
Art History and Philosophy
University of Southern California

ACLS Fellowship Program 2019
Assistant Professor
Art History
University of Southern California
Visual Expertise and the Aesthetics of Deception in Early Modern Italy

This project uncovers how Italian artists, elite collectors, and scientists first theorized the notion of visual expertise. Before the sixteenth century, visual expertise could, of course, emerge in practices that entailed attentive looking. Yet it was seldom a notion that received serious consideration as a discrete category of knowledge. By the turn of the eighteenth century, it had developed into a concept that was recognized and discussed by theorists and actors: learned observation had become a fundamental means for gaining knowledge about a range of fields, from the arts to the sciences. “Visual Expertise and the Aesthetics of Deception in Early Modern Italy” contends that the theorization and cultivation of visual expertise in Italy reveals a massive transformation in the understanding of the relationship between visual experience and knowledge.