Iconographic Resources >

Galilean Iconography

The iconographic section of the Galilean Integrated Archives consists of two thematic groups. The first group is made up of a large number of portraits of contemporaries of the Pisan scientist, including his friends, correspondents and persons of high rank, ecclesiastical or secular, with whom he was in contact. It also includes a collection of portraits portraying the philosophers and intellectuals of Antiquity, mentioned recurrently in Galilean texts and correspondence.

The second group pertains instead to the image of Galileo Galilei himself, and contains figurative materials, which when analyzed in their diachronic dimension, reveal two main aspects, coinciding more or less with two different and successive stages in time.

The first is concerned with the presentation of Galileo's physiognomy, and falls within the genre of portraiture. The second, consisting of a careful evaluation of the visual codification of the Pisan scientist's life and works, viewed in both their historical worth and their symbolic potential, coincided with an important phase of 19th-century "historical painting".

The possibilities of consulting the iconographic archive allow for various results. Along with the customary search keys utilized also for bibliographic inquiry, such as author or subject, used respectively to identify the various artists and the iconographic sources in which Galileo is portrayed alone or in the company of others, or with specific instruments (as in the case of the telescope), further search keys have been inserted: by chronology, or by object, in which the various works are identified by their physical nature (painting, sculpture or printed matter) and by technology, useful for organizing the material depending on whether the work in question is an oil painting on canvas or wood, or an engraving.

In addition to display of the image, the artist's biographical data, the dimensions and any inscriptions appearing in the work, the catalogue cards furnish information on the place where the work of art is stored and the relevant bibliography.

The archive may be accessed online within the "Iconography" section of the Galileo//thek@.


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