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Dimensions:
280 × 220 mm
304 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781789140545
Illustrations:
306 illustrations, 284 in colour
Published:
10 Jun 2019
  • £35.00

  • This edition is not yet available

Cosmos The Art and Science of the Universe Roberta J. M. Olson, Jay M. Pasachoff

Since time immemorial, the nocturnal skies have mesmerized people, and heavenly bodies have inspired the imaginations of artists, poets, and scientists. This book showcases the superstars of the firmament and universe in sumptuous illustrations featuring paintings, sculpture, drawings, watercolours, prints, as well as plates from books, celestial diagrams, and astronomical photography.

Cosmos: The Art and Science of the Universe charts the human love affair with the heavens in art and astronomy, based on sound science and insightful art and cultural history. While its illustrations are thrilling and seductive, the book also recounts the fascinating story about the quest to discover the mysteries of the universe in ten lively chapters. Embellished with new information, interpretations, and amusing anecdotes, the authors weave a rich tapestry about the interconnections in the cosmos and the efforts to understand them. A stunning book that unveils the beauty of the cosmos and its compelling story.

Professors Olson and Pasachoff have been working together on the intersection of art and astronomy since the 1985-1986 passage of Halley’s Comet brought them together. They are joint authors of Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science (1998) and this book is the culmination of their decades of collaboration.

‘The night sky is the grandest feature of our environment. It has been shared by all humanity, throughout history, stimulating a sense of wonder and mystery. In this eloquent and beautifully illustrated book Olson and Pasachoff recount how the cosmos has inspired artists through the ages to create images that have become embedded in our culture.’ — Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

‘“What could be more beautiful than the heavens,” Copernicus asked, “which contain all beautiful things?” Roberta Olson and Jay Pasachoff offer their exuberant, elaborate endorsement of Copernicus’ sentiment in this resplendently illustrated celebration of artworks inspired by starry nights, solar eclipses, and other celestial wonders.’ — Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, and The Glass Universe

‘Filled with awe upon completing Cosmos, I was amazed at the depth of documentation paired with pioneering content. What a remarkable feat of scholarship Olson and Pasachoff have achieved. Whether religiously motivated, scientifically oriented, or just curious, artists from all times have embraced and explored the origins of our universe. Creative higher mathematics is often geometric and therefore visual. This historic study investigates how artists have shaped their cosmic discoveries into provocative images, while it traces the complex search to understand the universe.’ — Dorothea Rockburne, artist

‘It should not be surprising that astronomical subjects pervade all manner of art through the ages, yet Cosmos amazes. Olson and Pasachoff’s well-researched and lavishly illustrated tome delightfully demonstrates that this iconography is beautifully represented in the arts throughout history.’ — Tom Baione, Harold Boeschenstein Library Director, American Museum of Natural History

‘Olson and Pasachoff scour the cosmos of the arts for images of the heavens and show not only what the universe is, but what it means in this marvel of a book. With one surprising variation on a theme after another, every page is a revelation of the visual impact of the sky.’ — E.C. Krupp, Director, Griffith Observator


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Roberta J. M. Olson is Curator of Drawings at the New-York Historical Society and Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She is the author of Fire and Ice: A History of Comets in Art (1985).

Jay M. Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts and co-author of The Sun (Reaktion Books, 2017)

Introduction

1 Astronomy: The Personification and the Practice
2 The Mechanics of the Cosmos:
Star Maps, Constellations and Globes
3 The Sun and Solar Eclipses
4 Earth’s Moon and Lunar Eclipses
5 Comets: ‘Wandering Stars’
6 Meteors, Bolides and Meteor Showers
7 Primordial Matter of the Big Bang: Novae, Nebulae and Galaxies
8 The Planets of the Solar System
9 The Aurora Borealis: Magnetic Celestial Fireworks
10 New Horizons in the Cosmos: Photographs of Space

Conclusion: Infinity
Select Bibliography and Further Reading
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index