Art and science of Galileo rediscovered in new show

Masterpieces go on display starting 17/11 in Padua

23 October, 16:32

    (ANSA) - Rome, October 23 - An art exhibition featuring 16th century polymath Galileo Galilei - astronomer, father of the scientific method, poet, writer, musician, and artist - goes on display in Padua starting November 11 and runs through March 18 in the exhibition spaces of the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà.

    Titled "Galileo Revolution", the show came from an idea by curator Giovanni Villa in collaboration with Stefan Weppelmann for the Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo Foundation.

    It aims to offer the holistic story of Galileo, both as a person and as one of Italy and Europe's historical figures having reached a nearly mythical status.

    The exhibition reveals Galileo's multi-dimensional talents, from the scientist who revolutionised astronomical research; to the writer praised by the likes of Foscolo, Leopardi, Pirandello, Ungaretti and Calvino; to the virtuoso musician; to the artist, considered among the top art critics of the 17th century.

    Galileo's entrepreneurial talents also come to light, through tools such as the telescope, the microscope, and the compass. Visitors will also understand his other passions, such as viticulture and the wine of the Euganean Hills, which he obtained through bartering with his precision instruments or through the production and sale of pharmaceutical pills.

    As curator, Villa's selection of works brings together splendid watercolours and sketches, as well as observations that show Galileo as an attentive observer of art, such as when he called Arcimboldo the author of "whims that have a confused and disorderly mixture of lines and colours".

    The influence Galileo's scientific achievements had on the culture of the time was already visible at the start of the 17th century.

    Following the publication in 1610 of his astronomical treatise "Sidereus Nuncius", Adam Elsheimer's oil-on-copper cabinet painting "The Flight Into Egypt" was the first depiction of the Milky Way, and numerous depictions of the moon as seen through Galileo's telescope appeared thereafter.

    The show also gives visitors an idea of how Galileo's discoveries influenced artists of his time and later, including painter Donato Creti, whose early 18th-century "Astronomical Observations" collection is housed in the Vatican Pinacoteca.

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