Moon-struck: Artists rediscover nature and observe

Citation
Jm. Pasachoff et Rjm. Olson, Moon-struck: Artists rediscover nature and observe, EARTH MOON, 85-6, 2001, pp. 303-341
Citations number
55
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
EARTH MOON AND PLANETS
ISSN journal
0167-9295 → ACNP
Volume
85-6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
303 - 341
Database
ISI
SICI code
0167-9295(2001)85-6:<303:MARNAO>2.0.ZU;2-D
Abstract
We discuss rare early depictions of the Moon by artists who actually observ ed Earth's nearest neighbor rather than relying on stylized formulas. The e arliest, from the 14th and 15th centuries, reveal that revolutionary advanc es in both pre-telescopic astronomy and naturalistic painting could go hand -in-hand. This link suggests that when painters observed the world, their d efinition of world could also include the heavens and the Moon. Many of the artists we discuss - e.g., Pietro Lorenzetti, Giotto, and Jan Van Eyck - a ctually studied the Moon, incorporating their studies into several works. W e also consider the star map on the dome over the altar in the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo, Florence (c. 1442), whose likely advisor was Toscanelli. I n addition, we examine representations by artists who painted for Popes Jul ius II and Leo X - Raphael and Sebastiano del Piombo, both of whom were inf luenced by individuals at the papal court, such as the astronomer, painter, and cartographer Johann (Giovanni) Ruysch and Leonardo da Vinci. We also d iscuss Leonardo's pre-telescopic notes and lunar drawings as they impacted on art and science in Florence, where Galileo would study perspective and c hiaroscuro. Galileo's representations of the Moon (engraved in his Sidereus Nuncius, 1610) are noted, together with those by Harriot and Galileo's fri end, the painter Cigoli. During the 17th century, the Moon's features were telescopically mapped by astronomers with repercussions in art, e.g., paint ings by Donati Creti and Raimondo Manzini as well as Adam Elsheimer. Ending with a consideration of the 19th-century artists/astronomers John Russell and John Brett and early lunar photography, we demonstrate that artistic an d scientific visual acuity belonged to the burgeoning empiricism of the 14t h, 15th, and 16th centuries that eventually yielded modern observational as tronomy.