Saturday, December 09, 2006

vermeer and derby

In a past entry about the astronomy-art course which I took at the Adler, I forgot to post images of some of the paintings which we reviewed. These two are by the Dutch master, Vermeer. The first one is titled "The Astronomer."

I found an interesting website, in which if you click specific items in the painting, such as the globe or the carpet on the table, a detailed explanation about the item's significance will be presented. For "The Astronomer," click here. The next painting by Vermeer is called "The Geographer."

For specific information about the motifs and items in this painting, you can check out the same website that is mentioned above here.

The last painting which I want to share is titled "A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery." The painting is commonly referred to as "The Orrey," however. The orrery is the large circular item in the center of the painting around which the philosopher and the other individuals have gathered. Also referred to as a planetarium, an orrery is an instrument used to show the motions of the planets and/or moons around the Sun. It's by Joseph Wright of Derby.


Comment Anonymous Chicago Astronomer Joe said...


Great to find this blog and your interest in astronomy.

I have often found that painting by Vermeer quite interesting and have included it in my astro content on the site.

But to me, it has always appeared more of an "astrologers" workplace than an astronomer. I see no visual instruments in his area or any feeling of scientific exploration. The globe looks more of a constellation/mythical representation and the chart above looks like astrological houses.

But again, it's just me.


Chicago Astronomer Joe

Telescope/Observatory Operator
Adler Planetarium

5:35 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks Astronomer Joe. Very cool site! I made it a bookmark.

Best wishes,

2:06 PM  
Comment Anonymous Chicago Astronomer Joe said...


Great you like the Chicago Astronomer.

At the Adler Planetarium, we have public observing sessions on the first friday of each month, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. When you have a free friday, stop by and look through our telescopes. The winter objects are in view now and quite interesting.

Sometimes The Chicago Astronomers get together and conduct star party sessions. To find out when, just visit the website on a regular basis to the times and dates.

If you are interested in either, just send me an email and you are in.


Chicago Astronomer Joe

12:17 AM  

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