Archive for Astronomer

`An Astronomer’ – Ferdinand Bol

Posted in Art with tags , , , , on September 25, 2018 by telescoper

by Ferdinand Bol (1619-1680), painted in 1652, 127 x 135 cm, Oil on Canvas.

I saw the above painting the other day and thought I’d share it here, as part of an occasional series of works of art. It can be found in the National Gallery in London.

It’s a fairly conventional composition and the style is clearly heavily influenced by Rembrandt, but this painting is beautifully done and has some interesting features all of its own. On the table is a celestial globe, and behind it a terrestrial one. The darkness surrounding the astronomer and his desk suggests isolation and introspection which, together with the pose of the figure and his abstracted manner, indicates that the painting may belong to the visual tradition of Melancholia, made famous by the work of Albrecht Dürer, in which it was suggested that a scholar’s research would inevitably lead him to an awareness of the futility of his endeavours in the face of death.

It’s being so cheerful that helps keep me going…

Hubble Images With Music By Herschel

Posted in History, Music, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on November 20, 2014 by telescoper

Too busy for a full post today, so here’s a little stocking filler. The, perhaps familiar, pictures are taken by the Hubble Space Telescope but the music is by noted astronomer (geddit?) Sir William Herschel – the Second Movement of his Chamber Symphony In F Major, marked Adagio e Cantabile. Although best known as an astronomer Herschel was a capable musician and composer with a style very obviously influenced by his near contemporary Georg Frideric Handel. Although music of this era puts me on a High Harpsichord Alert, I thought I’d share this example of music for those of you unfamiliar with his work…