Il Kim Named Interim American Cusanus Society President
Associate Professor of Architecture Il Kim was recently named interim President of the American Cusanus Society. Kim, who holds a BA in architecture from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and a PhD in architectural history from Columbia University, is recognized nationally and internationally for his scholarship on Renaissance architecture and engineering, and particularly for his work related to Nicolas of Cusa.
The American Cusanus Society was founded in 1983, dedicated to the study of Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464) and his times. Cusa is considered one of the most illustrious Christian humanists of the fifteenth century. The Society holds a biennial conference at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, as well as annual sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies and the Renaissance Society of America. There are affiliate societies in Germany, Japan, and Argentina.
Kim, the fifth scholar to serve as the society’s president, is interested in how Cusa’s work combined the study of the liberal arts (considered the high arts: grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music) with that of the mechanical arts (considered the low arts: engineering, painting, sculpture, and architecture) in an attempt to advance contemporary philosophy and theology, the pinnacles of human knowledge at that time. Kim is particularly drawn to this theme because interest in the mechanical arts was unusual for a university-educated philosopher and theologian. Cusa and the renowned Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) exchanged ideas regarding the interconnections of the high and low arts, influencing each other’s later writings. As such, the knowledge of the mechanical arts (including architecture) drove the direction of Cusa‘s philosophical and theological thinking, and now inform the focus of Kim’s research.