The Astronomer (Vermeer)

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The Astronomer
Johannes Vermeer - The Astronomer - WGA24685.jpg
Artist Johannes Vermeer
Yearc. 1668
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions51 cm× 45 cm(20 in× 18 in)
Location Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Astronomer is a painting finished in about 1668 by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is oil on canvas, 51 cm × 45 cm (20 in × 18 in), and is on display at the Louvre, in Paris, France. [1]

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Johannes Vermeer 17th-century Dutch painter

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Louvre Art museum and Historic site in Paris, France

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.

Contents

Portrayals of scientists were a favourite topic in 17th-century Dutch painting [1] and Vermeer's oeuvre includes both this astronomer and the slightly later The Geographer . Both are believed to portray the same man, [2] [3] [4] possibly Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. [5] A 2017 study indicated that the canvas for the two works came from the same bolt of material, confirming their close relationship. [6]

<i>The Geographer</i> painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Geographer is a painting created by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in 1668–1669, and is now in the collection of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut museum in Frankfurt, Germany. It is closely related to Vermeer's The Astronomer, for instance using the same model in the same dress, and has sometimes been considered a pendant painting to it. A 2017 study indicated that the canvas for the two works came from the same bolt of material.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Dutch tradesman and scientist

Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek FRS was a Dutch businessman and scientist in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology. A largely self-taught man in science, he is commonly known as "the Father of Microbiology", and one of the first microscopists and microbiologists. Van Leeuwenhoek is best known for his pioneering work in microscopy and for his contributions toward the establishment of microbiology as a scientific discipline.

The astronomer's profession is shown by the celestial globe (version by Jodocus Hondius) and the book on the table, the 1621 edition of Adriaan Metius's Institutiones Astronomicae Geographicae. [2] [3] [4] [7] 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"). [8]

Jodocus Hondius Flemish/Dutch artist, cartographer, engraver

Jodocus Hondius was a Flemish engraver and cartographer. He is sometimes called Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his son Jodocus Hondius II. Hondius is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. One of the notable figures in the Golden Age of Dutch/Netherlandish cartography, he helped establish Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century.

Adriaan Metius Dutch mathematician and astronomer

Adriaan Adriaanszoon, called Metius,, was a Dutch geometer and astronomer born in Alkmaar. The name "Metius" comes from the Dutch word meten ("measuring"), and therefore means something like "measurer" or "surveyor."

Finding of Moses

The Finding of Moses, sometimes called Moses in the Bullrushes, Moses Saved from the Waters, or other variants, is the story in chapter 2 of the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible of the finding in the River Nile of Moses as a baby by the daughter of Pharaoh. The story became a common subject in art, especially from the Renaissance onwards.

Provenance

1720 catalog listing the work. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen, met derzelven pryzen p 242.jpg
1720 catalog listing the work.
Johannes Vermeer, The Geographer 1668-69 oil on canvas; 53x47 cm. Steadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, Germany. The Geographer used the same model and other elements as The Astronomer. The Geographer.jpg
Johannes Vermeer, The Geographer 1668-69 oil on canvas; 53×47 cm. Steadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, Germany. The Geographer used the same model and other elements as The Astronomer.

The provenance of The Astronomer can be traced back to 27 April 1713, when it was sold at the Rotterdam sale of an unknown collector (possibly Adriaen Paets  [ nl ] or his father, of Rotterdam) together with The Geographer . The presumed buyer was Hendrik Sorgh, whose estate sale held in Amsterdam on 28 March 1720 included both The Astronomer and The Geographer, which were described as ‘Een Astrologist: door Vermeer van Delft, extra puyk’ (An Astrologist by Vermeer of Delft, topnotch) and ‘Een weerga, van ditto, niet minder’ (Similar by ditto, no less).

Astrology Pseudoscience claiming celestial objects influence human affairs

Astrology is a pseudoscientific divination system that studies the movements and relative positions of celestial objects and their supposed influence on human affairs. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, and has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and some—such as the Hindus, Chinese, and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from which it spread to Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.

Between 1881 and 1888 it was sold by the Paris art dealer Léon Gauchez to the banker and art collector Alphonse James de Rothschild, after whose death it was inherited by his son, Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild. In 1940 it was seized from his hotel in Paris by the Nazi Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete[ clarification needed ] after the German invasion of France. A small swastika was stamped on the back in black ink. The painting was returned to the Rothschilds after the war, and was acquired by the French state as giving in payment of inheritance taxes in 1983 [9] [10] and then exhibited at the Louvre since 1983. [10] [11] [12]

Alphonse James de Rothschild French banker and art collector (purchased the Van Loon collection)

Mayer Alphonse James Rothschild, was a French financier, vineyard owner, art collector, philanthropist, racehorse owner/breeder and a member of the Rothschild banking family of France.

Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild French banker

Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild, also known as Baron Édouard de Rothschild was an aristocrat, French financier and a member of the prominent Rothschild banking family of France.

Further reading

Walter Arthur Liedtke, Jr. was an American art historian, writer and Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was known as one of the world's leading scholars of Dutch and Flemish paintings. He died in the 2015 Metro-North Valhalla train crash.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Art museum in New York City, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; it extends the museum's modern and contemporary art program.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Institutiones Astronomicae Geographicae by Adriaan Metius

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References

  1. 1 2 "L'Astronome ou plutôt L'Astrologue". Atlas: the database of the exhibited works of art (in French). Musée du Louvre. Retrieved 2006-10-14.
  2. 1 2 Bailey, Anthony (2001). Vermeer: A View of Delft. pp. 165–170. ISBN   0-8050-6930-5.
  3. 1 2 Bailey, Martin (1995). Vermeer. pp. 102–104.
  4. 1 2 van Berkel, Klaas. "Vermeer and the Representation of Science". The Scholarly World of Vermeer. pp. 13–14. ISBN   90-400-9825-5.
  5. Van Berkel, K. (February 24, 1996). Vermeer, Van Leeuwenhoek en De Astronoom. Vrij Nederland (Dutch magazine), p. 6267.
  6. Johnson, C. Richard, Jr, and Sethares, W.A. (2017). "Canvas Weave Match Supports Designation of Vermeer's Geographer and Astronomer as a Pendant Pair". Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. 9.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Welu, James (1986). "Vermeer's Astronomer: Observations on an Open Book". Art Bulletin. 68: 263–267.
  8. Acts 7:22
  9. Lottman, Herbert R. Return of the Rothschilds: the great banking dynasty through two turbulent centuries, p. 312. I.B.Tauris, 1995.
  10. 1 2 Feliciano, Hector (1998). The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art. Basic Books. ISBN   0-465-04191-4.
  11. "L'Astronome". Communauté Louvre (in French). Musée du Louvre. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  12. looted art Retrieved February 18, 2011