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Ferdinand Bol: 'An Astronomer'

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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.

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