The Age of Enlightenment
Discovering the world: rationalist thinking and practice
The topic of “unveiling the truth” became emblematic for the scientification of culture.
Emblematic of the scientification of culture during the late 18th century may be Charles-Nicolas Cochin's frontispiece of Diderot's and D'Alembert's monumental illustrated Encyclopaedia, which was published from 1751 onwards. Female personifications of philosophy, the sciences and arts, especially reason and metaphysics, are unveiling the truth who is stepping forward from her circular temple. The Augustinian Canons of Polling in Upper Bavaria copied this iconography for the decoration of the new library hall, which at that time, was the largest and most qualitative in the whole country.
Ceiling frescos: Care of the ArtsTheological TruthProfane Truth
Unveiling the Truth
Vault of the Library Hall, Augustinian Canons’ Convent of the Holy Saviour
Polling, Upper Bavaria, Germany
Johann Baptist Baader (1717–1780)
In the Augustinian monastery at Polling, one ceiling fresco in the library hall commissioned by the erudite provost Franciscus Töpsl is a statement to the main principle of the Enlightenment: that the truth should be “unveiled” with the help of reason.