Romantic-objectivism: developing a diagrammatic poetics of science

Michael Whittle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This essay discusses how Diagrammatic modes of representation are a distinct subset of images that coevolved with the scientific project to visually embody key ideals from the philosophy of science. In making diagrammatic art, artists have found various means to appropriate, exaggerate and subvert this set of characteristics unique to the diagram as part of their processes of creation and production. This is in an approach that I refer to as Romantic Objectivism. As a practicing artist with a background in Biomedicine, my drawing and sculptural praxes are presented as an ongoing project to develop a visual poetics of science beyond its purely factual and functional modes, in the spirit of the Romantic-period German scientist, philosopher and poet Novalis, and his recently rediscovered, unfinished project, the Romantic Encyclopedia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-298
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Visual Art Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

User-Defined Keywords

  • diagrammatology
  • encyclopedistics
  • romantic-objectivism
  • art and science
  • romantic encyclopaedia
  • Novalis


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