An Astronomer

On the table is a celestial globe, and behind it a terrestrial one. The pose of the figure and his abstracted manner indicate that the painting may belong to the visual tradition of Melancholia, made famous by Dürer's work, in which it was suggested that a scholar's research would inevitably lead him to an awareness of the futility of his endeavours in the face of death.

The medallion in the centre of the man's belt may show a Roman emperor.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1616 - 1680
Full title
An Astronomer
Date made
1652
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
127 x 135 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Presented by Miss E.A. Bennett, 1862
Inventory number
NG679
Location in Gallery