Kostelnick, Charles. “Visualizing
Technology and Practical Knowledge in the Encyclopédie’s Plates: Rhetoric, Drawing Conventions, and Enlightenment Values.” History & Technology, vol. 28, no. 4, Dec. 2012, pp. 443–54. doi:10.1080/07341512.2012.771465.
Kostelnick claims here that the Encyclopédie’s plates are more than just images and more than a simple visualization of the knowledge depicted in the volumes text. These plates also serve as a form of rhetoric with the goal of informing and persuading readers as well as universalizing and humanizing knowledge through a variety of rhetorical strategies. Kostelnick chooses three specific plates (“Agriculture, Economie Rustique: Moulin à Vent (Agriculture, Rural Economy: Windmill)”, “Batteur d’Or (Gold [Leaf] Beater)”, and “Pêches: Pêche à la Ligne dans les Eaux courantes (Fishing : Line Fishing in Running Water)”) that he claims depict the majority of said rhetorical strategies. Through an analysis of each plate separately, Kostelnick explains covert aspects and rhetoric such as drawing style (similar to engineering with cross sections), artistic choices (shading, perspective), annotations, presence of human figures, visual narratives, and the picturesque/aesthetic depiction of nature. Throughout, he compares and contrasts the Encyclopédie plates to past styles and examples pointing out what made the Encyclopédie stand out, ultimately claiming that the Encyclopédie wished to depict familiar activities in a manner that everyone could understand rather than focus on the new and revolutionary subjects and crafts.
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Main Classification: Plates
1. Images of the plates mentioned are included in the article.
1/15/2021: Created page.