Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jan Matejko-Astronomer Copernicus-Conversation with God

English: Astronomer Copernicus: Conversation with God

Author: Jan Matejko

Image:Jan Matejko-Astronomer Copernicus-Conversation with God.jpg and Image:Rzeczpospolita voivodships.png .

In 1860 Matejko issued an illustrated album, Ubiory w Polsce (Clothing in Poland), a project reflecting his intense interest in historical records of all kinds and his desire to promote such interest among the Polish people in an effort to intensify their patriotic feelings. In 1861 he had an exhibition Otrucie królowej Bony (Poisoning of Queen Bona) in Warsaw's Zachęta. The national defeats forced him to abandon the religious painting which, he believed, was his vocation and to devote himself almost exclusively to historical painting. In fact he created a vision of Polish history from which we can not liberate ourselves despite of perennial criticism of the scientists. Matejko often placed on his paintings people who were not present at this location (f.ex. Hugo Kołłątaj, and General Józef Wodzicki, on The Battle of Racławice). He was not interested in presenting factual events but in representation of a historical-philosophical synthesis. Matejko's work has to be viewed not only in artistic terms, but also in terms of the social function it performed and continues to perform today. He considered history as a function of the present and the future. His paintings are not historical illustrations, rather they are powerful expressions of the artist's psyche and his attitude to the world.

  • Born: 19 February 1473
  • Birthplace: Torun, Poland
  • Died: 24 May 1543
  • Best Known As: Astronomer known for figuring out that the sun is the center of our solar system

Name at birth: Niclas Kopernik

Nicolas Copernicus was born into a well-to-do family, and after his father died in 1483 he was put under the guardianship of his uncle, a bishop of Warmia (Poland). He went to university in Krakow and spent a decade in Italy, studying law and mathematics. A canon of the cathedral at Frombork, Copernicus carried out administrative duties and, from his house, observed the stars and planets. For years he worked on his theory that the planets in our solar system revolved around the sun (Ptolemy of ancient Greece had explained that the universe was a closed system revolving around the earth, and the Catholic church concurred). Hesitant to publish his work for fear of being charged with heresy, Copernicus summarized it in 1530 and circulated it among Europe's scholars, where it was greeted with enthusiasm. His work, titled De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was finally published in 1543, apparently just a few weeks before he died.

Because Copernicus' heliocentric theory of the planets defied 1,500 years of tradition, some historians mark the publication date of De revolutionibus as the beginning of the "scientific revolution."... It wasn't until 1835 that his work was taken off the list of books banned by the Vatican... Another scientist who got in trouble for believing that the earth moved around the sun: Galileo Galilei.

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