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Is there anything more thoroughly discredited than Aristotelian cosmology?  Ever since it was assigned to the scrap-heap by the new science of the seventeenth century, Aristotelianism figures only as the “context,” deprived of any real agency, of the flourishing of the arts of the Renaissance.  And yet until the end of the sixteenth century Aristotelian physics was the base and the scene of the theory and practice of the arts.  Natural philosophy provided the stakes of mimesis:  the articulation of the arts as the sum of all the movements making up the world.
 
To take the measure of mimesis in the widest sense of the word, we will need to abandon the normative logics of the image and resemblance to which the moderns, since the end of the seventeenth century, have reduced it. We will need to question the fascination that the rhetorical paradigm has exerted on art historians.  In sum, we need to face up to the consequences of the “ontological turn” implied by every true natural philosophy.
 
Patricia Falguières is professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris. Her work has primarily concentrated on philosophy and the art of the Renaissance and its classifications, encyclopedias, indexes and the birth of the museum in modern Europe, as well as Mannerism. In parallel, she is also active in the field of contemporary art, through articles and essays, monographic publications or writing on conceptual art, the relationships between art and theatre in the twentieth century or the French critical edition of Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube (2008). She runs several history and art theory research programs. She initiated the series of Lectures Maison Rouge at the Maison Rouge, Paris, and she co-directs the Something You Should Know seminars at the EHESS with Élisabeth Lebovici and Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez. In 2011, the Centre Pompidou organised a programme of conferences and encounters proposing perspectives on history and art criticism entitled According to Patricia Falguières.