The Universe in Art

The Universe in Art
With the recent total solar eclipse and advancements in space travel, let us examine how mankind has represented his world through art.

Celestial bodies or heavenly bodies are objects in space such as the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

Celestial globes are spherical maps of the sky. The oldest dates back to the 3rd century BCE.

The North Star, also known as Polaris is visible in the Northern Hemisphere 365 days a year. It is the brightest star in the constellation "Big Dipper" in US, and "the Plough" in UK.

The Star of Bethlehem (Christmas star), from the Gospel of Matthew is said to have guided the three Magi (wise men) to Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Fact or fiction? Experts can now explain the event astronomically and astrologically.

The sun was the source of life in ancient Egypt and their god Ra was their word for "sun" or "solar deity."

In Egypt during the 15th century BC, Amenhotep III reigned as the "Sun King." The same nickname was given to Louis XIV (1638-1715) of France.

The sun, in yellow, gold, or red pigments can be seen on Egyptian monuments, tombs, temple walls, statues, and jewelry.

A Chinese proverb reads, "No matter how tall the mountain is, it cannot block the sun."

Michelangelo's fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling depicts the "Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Planets" in the second scene, on the third and fourth day of Creation.

The "mother of all impressionism" is Claude Monet's "Impression, Sunrise" (1872) as it is the painting that labeled the art movement.

Vincent van Gogh celebrated the warm, yellow sun in many of his paintings, including "The Sower" and "Sower with Setting Sun," both from 1888.

One of the most recognizable paintings in the world is Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" (1889), a scene before sunrise of the view he saw from his asylum room at Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

The eleven (11) stars in the painting may have a biblical meaning as Joseph, in Genesis 37:9 speaks of his dream, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

American Modernist artist Georgia O'Keeffe painted "Sun Water Maine" (1922) from her own experience on the beach in York, ME.

O'Keeffe's "Evening Star" is the planet Venus, as seen in the Western sky after sunset. The 1917 version can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), NY. It is one of ten (10) watercolors of the same theme.

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted "The Sun" 91909), a mural on Oslo University's assembly hall, meant to portray "light, warmth, and nature."

Spanish artist Joan Miro painted "The Red Sun" (1948) as the source of all life. It can be seen at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

To date, the closest pictures of the sun were taken by NASA's Solar Orbiter. Another first for NASA is the picture of earth taken from the moon, known appropriately as "Earthrise."

The "Lunar Codex" is a collection of 30,000 art, music, books in digital and analog signals as a “time capsule” to be left on the moon.

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC uses the sunburst logo to "symbolize their dedication to enlightening audiences everywhere." How appropriate!

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This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.