Galileo’s Moon: Drawing as Rationalized Observation and its Failure as Forgery

Open Inquiry Archive

Vol. 5, No. 2 (2016)

Galileo’s Moon: Drawing as Rationalized Observation and its Failure as Forgery

By Melinda Schlitt


Galileo’s wash drawings that survive – and to a certain degree, the etchings in the first edition of the Sidereus Nuncius – exemplify drawing as rationalized observation for the representation of knowledge and ideas as it had been conceived and practiced by Florentine artists during the previous two centuries, and which had been institutionalized in curriculum of the Accademia del Disegno. There is no doubt, in my view, that the drawings and etchings are in Galileo’s hand, despite recent speculation to the contrary as I note. Bredekamp and his colleagues – despite their misattribution – provided the great service of investigating the SNML in minute detail along with a rigorous analysis of Galileo’s imagery. In the forger’s failure to grasp the visual representation of observed nature in Galileo’s imagery in the SNML, lies its efficacy as a means for conveying the discovery of knowledge.

Full text of article available here.

Text copyright 2016 Melinda Schlitt

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