Others See it Yet Otherwise: The Cosmic Systems

michaeljohn Allegory, Astronomy, Mathematics, Mysterious Masterpiece 2 Comments

At the front of the green octagonal table in the Linder Gallery, very prominently positioned in the painting, is a scrap of paper bearing three competing systems of the universe: the Ptolemaic earth-centred system at the top left, the sun-centred Copernican system (prohibited by the Inquisition since 1616) and the compromise system of the Danish astronomer, Kepler’s mentor Tycho Brahe, …

An alternative candidate for Disegno?

Alex Allegory, Art-Science, Instruments and machines, Mathematics 3 Comments

It is by no means clear whether the figure of Disegno in the Linder gallery is intended to be generic or a specific portrait.  Michael John has suggested Kepler as a possible candidate – which is certainly plausible, although I have yet to be convinced of the similarity between known portraits of Kepler and the features of the Linder gallery figure, …

Cornelis Drebbel’s Perpetuum Mobile in the Linder Gallery

James Art-Science, Instruments and machines, Mathematics 4 Comments

The Perpetuum Mobile, a machine which can just be made out in the shadowy right background of the Linder Gallery (no. 43 in the zoomable image), is not the only invention of Cornelis Drebbel (1572-1633), nor perhaps even the most significant, but it is certainly the one for which he was best known by his contemporaries, and the one of …

Drawing and Painting? Art and Science?

admin Allegory, Art-Science, Mathematics 5 Comments

The foreground of the Linder Gallery is dominated by two figures, a bearded old man and a young woman in classical clothing reclining in his lap. Whereas the male figure appears to be a portrait, the female figure seems to be purely allegorical. The paintbrushes, maulstick and artist’s pallete would suggest that she can be identified as Painting, or perhaps …

The Caravaggio Letter: Eyewitness account of the Linder Gallery?

michaeljohn Artist, Astronomy, Mathematics, Patron, Provenance Leave a Comment

There is an intriguing letter in the university library of Urbino recently uncovered by Alexander Marr that provides a direct eyewitness account of the Linder Gallery from shortly after its creation. It was sent in March 1629 by an engineer, Giovanni Battista Caravaggio to his mathematical  tutor, Mutio Oddi, describing a visit to the house of the German merchant Peter …

Muzio Oddi and the Linder Gallery

Alex Astronomy, Mathematics, Patron Leave a Comment

The sole surviving piece of textual evidence that sheds light on the Linder gallery interior is a letter, sent on 28 March 1629, from the architect-engineer Giovanni Battista Caravaggio to his former tutor in mathematics, Mutio Oddi of Urbino.  In the letter, Caravaggio (then in Milan) mentions a visit to their friend Pieter Linder, a German merchant who had also …