Enfilade

Lunar Landscapes, Part II

Posted in anniversaries, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on July 20, 2009

In connection with the previous lunar posting, Michael Yonan notes the fascinating series of paintings in the Vatican Collection by Donato Creti. Commissioned by Luigi Marsili in 1711, the eight pictures depict landscapes by Creti with heavenly bodies rendered by the miniaturist Manzini — largely as the forms would have appeared with the aid of eighteenth-century telescopes. In a 1992 article Christopher Johns addresses the paintings “as a cultural bribe to Clement XI, works of art that give unique testimony to the significance of Newtonianism to astronomical observation in Italy and to the intimate relationship between early eighteenth-century art and science.” See Johns, “Art and Science in Eighteenth-Century Bologna: Donato Creti’s Astronomical Landscape Paintings,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 55 (1992): 578-89. The article also includes the lovely drawing by Creti, “The Astronomers,” now in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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