Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Modernity and the scientific uses of design: A critical investigation in the notion of art and style of the artificial with special reference to the human antiquity controversy 1858-1908
Dr Assimina Kaniari
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of Oxford
Thesis Supervisor
Professor Martin Kemp
Supervisor e-mail
martin.kemp AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Art History
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Italian, Spanish, French, Greek
URL where full thesis can be found
epistemology, aesthetic theory, style of the artificial, 19th century scientific controversies, human origins, palaeolithic archaeology, boundaries between natural, artificial technological
Abstract: 200-500 words
The thesis examines interconnections between notions of reliable evidence in 19th century and concepts drawn from aesthetic theory of the same period. Specifically it looks at the abstracted and graphic modality that the represenatation of scientific facts adopts from the second half of the 19th century onwards with reference to archaeological and geological illustration in the human antiquity controversy 1859-1908. The boundaries between natural, artificial and technological in the controversy comprized 'aesthetically mediated' solutions to knowledge problems, I argued, which contained, in turn, aesthetic hierarchies particular to the 19th century notion of 'good design' and Semper's concept of technical aesthetics. The emergence of a style for the representation of the artificial in the foundations of the Palaeolithic overlaps with an episode in the intersection of art, science and technology in 19th century Britain.