Celestial Sleuth: Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, by Donald W. Olson

By Donald W. Olson

For a normal viewers attracted to fixing mysteries in artwork, background, and literature utilizing the tools of technological know-how, 'forensic astronomy' is an exciting new box of exploration. Astronomical calculations are the root of the experiences, that have the benefit of bringing to readers either evocative pictures and a greater figuring out of the skies.

Weather proof, volcano experiences, topography, tides, ancient letters and diaries, well-known work, army documents, and the pleasant guidance of specialists in comparable fields upload type, intensity, and curiosity to the paintings. the selected themes are chosen for his or her broad public attractiveness and intrigue, concerning artists akin to Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, and Ansel Adams; ancient occasions comparable to the conflict of Marathon, the dying of Julius Caesar, the yankee Revolution, and international struggle II; and literary authors reminiscent of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Joyce, and Mary Shelley. This publication units out to respond to those mysteries indicated with the capability and services of astronomy, starting the door to a richer adventure of human tradition and its courting with nature.

Each topic is thoroughly analyzed. to illustrate utilizing the learn of sky work through Vincent van Gogh, the analytical strategy would come with:
- computing device calculations of ancient skies above France within the nineteenth century
- discovering and quoting the clues present in translations of unique letters by means of Van Gogh
- making website visits to France to figure out the proper destinations whilst Van Gogh organize his easel and what celestial gadgets are depicted.

For every one ancient occasion encouraged by way of astronomy, there will be a special form of secret to be solved. to illustrate:
- How can the section of the Moon and time of moonrise support to provide an explanation for a turning aspect of the yank Civil conflict - the deadly wounding of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville in 1863?

For each one literary connection with astronomy, it was firm which celestial gadgets have been being defined and making an issue that the writer is describing an exact occasion. for instance, what used to be the date of the moonlit scene while Mary Shelley first had the assumption for her novel “Frankenstein?”

These and extra enjoyable riddles will enchant and pleasure the fan of artwork and astronomy.

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Additional resources for Celestial Sleuth: Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, History and Literature

Sample text

Monet and Turner, Masters of Sea and Sky 27 In the case of Messieurs les voyageurs, the answers to the first two questions are in the title of the work! To make the location more precise and to answer the last two questions, we began by consulting biographical material about the artist. First Stagecoach Accident in the Snow: Italy After spending several months in Rome, Turner made his return trip to England during January 1829. He traveled in a diligence, a kind of large stagecoach used on the main routes of Europe.

Can we use astronomical analysis to determine whether this canvas with the orange disk portrays a sunrise, sunset, moonrise, or moonset? How can we determine the date and the precise time, accurate to the minute, when the artist observed this scene? Vincent van Gogh painted another dramatic sky in his Road with Cypress and Star, created in 1890 at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. This canvas depicts a rural scene of two figures walking down a road, with a carriage in the middle distance. W. 1007/978-1-4614-8403-5_2, © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014 35 36 Celestial Sleuth near a slender crescent Moon.

A team of oxen is preparing to pull the coach out of a snow bank, while the passengers try to remain warm around a bonfire. Silhouetted with his back to us, Turner himself sits in a top hat and observes the scene. The night sky above the mountain includes the Moon and several bright objects, either stars or planets. For projects applying astronomy to art, our Texas State group always attempts to answer four questions: Where was the location of the artist? When was the artist there? Which way was the artist looking?

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