This week Professor Lisa Jardine comes to Darwin College, Cambridge to give the fifth talk in this year's annual Darwin Lecture series.

This week Professor Lisa Jardine comes to Darwin College, Cambridge to give the fifth talk in this year's annual Darwin Lecture series.

"The lecture is about the way the familiar landscape of art and culture which we inhabit has, historically, formed our ideas of beauty and shaped our aesthetic preferences," explains Professor Jardine. "I am interested in the successive transformations, and, indeed, deformations of cartographic space within which our European forebears encountered, and sought ownership of the exotic and rare, and the way artistic development was refracted through the lens of territorial claims and aspirations to ownership. Like other graphic representations, a map is not an innocent version of the relative positions of places on the terrestrial globe. A Renaissance map records the aspirations of the person for whom it is designed to be 'Lord of all that he surveys'.

The discussion will be based around a body of imposing sixteenth century tapestries: "Some of the tapestries incorporate surprisingly precise contemporary maps, and all of them make decisive interventions as claims to the territorial supremacy of the Habsburg Emperor Charles V and his dynasty. These priceless art-works travelled from the Low Countries to Spain and Portugal, from Spain to England and France, objects of wonder which insisted graphically on the political supremacy of their owner. I shall argue that unless we grasp the continuous involvement of art manufacture and exchanges with contests between competing imperial powers, we will do less than justice to the lasting importance of the European Renaissance."

Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine is the author of Ingenious Pursuits and the universally acclaimed Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance. Her latest book is Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (Reaktion Books, 2001), a radical reassessment of Renaissance art which examines how European civilisation defined itself between 1450 and 1550. Professor Jardine is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.

The Darwin Lectures
The theme for this year's lecture series is space, a choice in part inspired by Stanley Kubrick's seminal film 2001-A Space Odyssey. "It occurred to us that the theme of space would be at once timely and ideal for the series, as it has such different resonances in different fields," explains Francois Penz, a Fellow of Darwin College and one of the organisers of this year's lectures. "We have planned our intellectual journey from inner to outer space, with excursions into the brain, language, buildings, virtual reality, mapmaking, politics, astronautics, and cosmology."

The Darwin Lectures, a series of public lectures run in the second term of each academic year, were established in 1986 and quickly established themselves as one of the highlights of the University's yearly programme of public education.

Each series has been built around a single theme, approached in a multi-disciplinary way. Previous themes have included commmunications, intelligence, catastrophe and the environment. Each lecture is given by a leading authority on his or her subject. The list of distinguished speakers from previous years includes Stephen Hawking, Helena Kennedy, Jonathan Miller, Roger Penrose and Roy Porter.

Lecture programme
19 January Inner Space
Susan Greenfield (Department of Pharmacology, Oxford)

26 January Space and Language
Karen Emmorey (Salk Institute, California)

2 February Architectural Space
Daniel Libeskind (Berlin)

9 February Virtual Space
Char Davies (Montreal)

16 February Mapping Space
Lisa Jardine (School of English, University London)

23 February International Space
Neal Ascherson (London)

2 March Outer Space
John Barrow (Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge)

9 March Exploring Space
Jeffrey Hoffman (NASA, Paris)

The lectures will start at 5.30 pm in The Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue. An adjacent overflow theatre is provided with live TV coverage. Each lecture is typically attended by 600 people, so it is advisable to arrive around half an hour early to ensure a place.

Further information To find out more about the lecture series go to the events section on the Darwin College website.

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