Cardano Project

The Progetto Cardano is an international initiative for the appreciation of the work of Girolamo Cardano (Pavia 1501 - Rome 1576). Interlinking high culture and popular science, Cardano's work extends from medicine to philosophy, from mathematics to astrology and occupies a central position in the European Renaissance. The Progetto, which is interdisciplinary, is intendend to make this work available for historical research through the production of critical editions, in both traditional ad electronic format, and through the systematic reconstruction of the cultural context in which the Lombard author carried out his encyclopaedic activities. These surveys, while essential for the history of the Renaissance in general, are more particularly concerned with 16th century culture in an area of northern Italy open to influences from beyond the Alps and the ferment of the Reformation. The Progetto is based on close cooperation between the CNR, Italian and foreign universities and local government institutions, libraries and museums involved in artistic and technical-scientific fields. It intends to promote the study of that particular cultural world also through initiatives (exhibitions, conferences, multimedia products) reflecting the subtle links between science, art, literature and politics.

Dedicated to a central and emblematic figure of the European Renaissance, although one who is still little studied, the Progetto Cardano is of obvious interest for the history of philosophy and science in general, as well as history of Lombard cultural institutions in Padua and Bologna where Cardano studied and taught. The Progetto is also particularly significant for the study of the specialist terminology in use in the 16th century in the field of science and philosophy: the computerisation of Cardano's texts may provide a precious tool for a more profound understanding of the terminology.
Finally, the Progetto is highly interdisciplinary. This characteristic is the result of the great versatility of the author himself and the multiplicity of references to the worlds of the arts, crafts and technology which recur through Cardano's writings, with a Leonardesque attention to the practical aspects of knowledge. The surveys of the environment in which Cardano developed and worked during the most important years of his life must, therefore, spread out in various directions and makes use of collaboration between historians of art, technology, ideas and political-religious institutions. In this way recognition and appreciation of the cultural inheritance of Lombardy can be developed in a systematic, organized manner, operating not only at the level of specialist research and university teaching, but also promoting initiatives involving libraries, museums and cultural associations belonging to local government bodies.

The Progetto Cardano was initiated in 1995. As part of the Progetto seminars and two international conferences.