Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science

Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science

by Roberta J. M. Olson
     
 

Fire in the Sky collects many representations of comets and meteors in Britain during the eighteen and nineteenth century when a large number of works inspired by these celestial objects were produced. Over 100 photographs—and two sections of luscious color plates—beautifully portray the inspired output of some of the world's most talented artists, fully

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Overview

Fire in the Sky collects many representations of comets and meteors in Britain during the eighteen and nineteenth century when a large number of works inspired by these celestial objects were produced. Over 100 photographs—and two sections of luscious color plates—beautifully portray the inspired output of some of the world's most talented artists, fully capturing the phenomenon that obsessed not only a nation but an era as well. Olson and Pasachoff reveal the many different ways that comets and meteors have appeared in paintings and literature and link these works to the achievements of British science in the wake of Newton and Halley. They also examine the different symbolism that writers and artists have attached to these spectacular objects. Throughout, Fire in the Sky conveys how the development of new technologies, and the burgeoning interest of the general public in science and art, dovetailed with an interest in nature and a strong literary tradition of comet and meteor symbolism. Beautifully illustrated and packed with engaging stories, this book will delight anyone with an interest in the art and astronomy of comets.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521663595
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1999
Pages:
383
Product dimensions:
7.99(w) x 9.96(h) x 0.79(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Prelude: the beginning of telescopic astronomy and the background of British astronomy and artistic traditions; 2. The heavens on fire: the eighteenth century; 3. The comet-crazed century opens; 4. The triumph of realism; 5. Donati's comet, the watershed; 6. The origin of comet (and meteor) photography; 7. The triumph of the imagination; 8. Comets and the new century; Epilogue: comets and the new millennium; Appendices; List of illustrations; Bibliography; Index.

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