Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astronomy Astounds All

Farnese Atlas, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Example of Arader Galleries' selection of
Diderot's Astronomy Instruments

Diderot's Astronomy Instruments

“The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline which deals with the universe’s divine revolutions, the stars’ motions, sizes, distances, risings, and settings . . . for what is more beautiful than heaven?” Copernicus, 1543

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy has staged the exhibit: Galileo: Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope. Florence is home to one of the world’s leading research centers for astronomic research and the birthplace of Galileo, making it the perfect destination to accommodate the greatest exhibition on the history of astronomy. This exhibit traces the history of astronomy through its images and tools, illustrating how the heavens have been a source of mystery and fascination for all civilizations. Participants are taken back to the beginnings of the study of the heavens with the mystical and poetic visions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It then moves on to the Greek cosmogonies, through the planetary architectures of Ptolemy and Arab astronomy, revoking the Christian interpretations and finally arriving at the heliocentric theories of Copernicus that inspired Galileo and Kepler.

Highlights include the Farnese Atlas (on loan from the Museo Achelogico Nazionale, Naples) which is the oldest surviving celestial globe and the only map of the heavens from Greek and Roman antiquity, as well as the infamous telescope Galileo pointed up to the heavens exactly 400 years ago. The exhibition does an incredible job exploring the relationship between astronomy and astrology and the fascination that cosmology has always exerted on architecture and art.

Inspired by this world-class exhibit, Arader Galleries is pleased to present newly acquired prints, depicting astrological tools from Denis Diderot’s Dictionnaire RaisonnĂ© des Sciences et des Arts. These engravings are not only aesthetically striking but also serve to deepen our appreciation for how technology aids us in our desire to understand the universe. Namely, the telescope, more than any other tool, has enabled scientists to probe deeper into the cosmos, into the vastness of the heavens, and by consequence, completely change our conceptions of the universe and our relationship to it.

Please call 415.788.5115 for more information on Diderot’s Astronomy prints.
Please visit for more information on the Galileo exhibit.

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