The Works of Galileo

The Academy of the Lynx

Triumph in Rome

In the Spring of 1611 Galileo visited Rome in triumph (Figure 1) . Jesuit mathematicians and astronomers of the Collegio Romano eagerly looked through his telescopes, confirmed each of the observational discoveries Galileo reported in the Sidereus nuncius, and certified them to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Christoph Clavius indicated that the new discoveries would require much reinterpretation of accepted astronomical views. Ptolemy’s system was now dead so far as mathematical astronomers were concerned. Yet all of Galileo’s discoveries were consistent with the system of Tycho Brahe, favored by the Jesuits, which Galileo never attacked. Galileo was feasted and honored with speeches and gifts as the leading light of Tuscany.

Ludovico Cardi, or Cigoli (1559-1613), “Assumption of the Virgin,” Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome): (Figure 2) . Cigoli painted this fresco in Rome with a crescent Moon as it appeared through Galileo’s telescope. Smooth, translucent Moons are common in ascensions of the Immaculate Virgin, but no one had painted her standing on a pock-marked, maculate moon with mountains and craters. Cigoli and Galileo were friends; they corresponded regularly, and Cigoli observed sun spots in Rome to aid Galileo’s defense against the argument that they were merely a phenomenon of the Tuscan atmosphere.

Figure 1 Figure 1 - Return to Text

Rome map.

Zoom - 5 in | 10 in
Download TIFF (large file)
Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Cigoli, Rome.

Image credit: Duane H. D. Roller slide archive
Zoom - 5 in | 10 in
Download TIFF (large file)

Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder, with the assistance of , Marilyn B. Ogilvie, Duane H. D. Roller.

Exhibit Links
Web Links

These teaching resources provided by the History of Science Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. Image Terms of Use.

OU LogoOU College of Arts and Sciences Online Logo

OU Disclaimer | Contacts: Content - Kerry Magruder, Website - Eric Bruning