Monday, June 18, 2012

The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer

The Astronomer
Johannes Vermeer 1668

The Astronomer is a painting finished about 1668 by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is oil on canvas, 51 cm x 45 cm (20 x 18 in), and is on display at the Louvre, Paris.

Portrayals of scientists were a favourite topic in 17th century Dutch painting and Vermeer's oeuvre includes both this astronomer and the slightly later The Geographer. Both are believed to portray the same man, possibly Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

The astronomer's profession is shown by the celestial globe (version by Jodocus Hondius) and the book on the table, Metius's Institutiones Astronomicae Geographicae).

Symbolically, the volume is open to Book III, a section advising the astronomer to seek "inspiration from God" and the painting on the wall shows the finding of Moses—Moses may represent knowledge and science ("learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians").
Read more from wikipedia

"Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action." From Stephen's speech in front of Sanhedrin. Acts 7:22.

(I cannot find any reference to such education for Moses in the Old Testament or in the Book of Jesus Sirach 45.)

Metius advises the astronomer to seek "inspiration from God"

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