With "Scrupulous Fidelity" and "Majestic Beauty": The Science and Art of E. L. Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings (1882)

This abstract has open access
Abstract Summary
Étienne Léopold Trouvelot’s portfolio of fifteen large-scale chromolithographic prints, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons to accompany Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings Manual (1882), were among the most influential and innovative images of astronomical phenomena produced at the end of the nineteenth century. The works effectively blurred the boundaries between art and science, receiving accolades from both professional artistic and scientific communities as well as attracting a wide public audience. Trouvelot, a French-born, Boston-based artist and amateur-turned-professional scientist, based the prints on sketches of cosmic forms that he made over the course of nearly two decades using high-powered telescopes at Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and the U.S. Naval Observatory. According to the artist, the 1882 portfolio aimed to present such forms with “scrupulous fidelity and accuracy,” while also conveying to the viewer something of “the majestic beauty and radiance of celestial objects.” Produced during a period in which photography was quickly becoming the dominant medium for astronomical imagery, Trouvelot argued forcefully against the popular assumption that photographic views of celestial phenomena were more objective or of greater scientific value than his graphic—and often quite abstract—representations. Using Trouvelot’s work as a case study, this paper examines the roles that artistic imagination and invention played in shaping scientific knowledge during the late nineteenth century and investigates the limitations that artistic media and technologies of vision imposed on such processes.
Abstract ID :
HSS206
Submission Type
Abstract Topic
Chronological Classification :
19th century
Self-Designated Keywords :
Art, Astronomy, Art History

Similar Abstracts by Type

Abstract ID
Abstract Title
Abstract Topic
Submission Type
Primary Author
HSS575
"A Place for Human Inquiry": Lomonosov’s Mineral Science
Aspects of Scientific Practice/Organization
Organized Session
Prof. Anna Graber
HSS355
"Atomic Spaghetti": Nuclear Energy and Agriculture in Italy, 1950s-1970s
Technology
Organized Session
Francesco Cassata
HSS320
"Beginning of the Entomological Enterprise in China": Jiangsu Provincial Bureau of Entomology and Its Locust Control, 1922-1931
Biology
Organized Session
Dr. Yubin Shen
HSS339
"Black Strokes upon White Paper": Changing Attitudes Towards Symbolic Algebra from the 19th into the 20th Century
Mathematics
Organized Session
Dr. Christopher Hollings
HSS587
"Despite the Asylum, Not Instead of It": Community Psychiatry in West Germany (1960-1980)
Medicine and Health
Organized Session
Chantal Marazia
HSS872
"Development" and Disarmament: The Twin Track of Pugwash in the Early 1970s
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Organized Session
Dr. Alison Kraft
HSS776
"Ideal Specimens": Butterfly Nature Prints, Entomology, and the Decorative Arts in Early 20th Century Japan
Biology
Organized Session
Ms. Kerstin Pannhorst
HSS5847
"Imago": Stories from the Margins of Global Insect Studies, 18th to 20th Centuries
Biology
Organized Session
Dr. Dominik Huenniger
HSS512
"Journalization" of Science Publishing: Periodicity of Book Formats at Springer, North-Holland, OUP, and Interscience, 1950-1965
Aspects of Scientific Practice/Organization
Organized Session
Alrun Schmidtke

Similar Abstracts by Topic

Abstract ID
Abstract Title
Abstract Topic
Submission Type
Primary Author
HSS231024
A Musical Story of Time ♬
Tools for Historians of Science
Contributed Paper
Susanna Bloem
HSS618
A Note on Tone: Carl Stumpf’s Tone Psychology and the Violin
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Julia Kursell
HSS880
Behavior (Un)Archived: Research Films in East German Bioacoustics
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Sophia Gräfe
HSS623
Between Signal and Symbol: Sound, Speech, and the Data of Language
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Dr. Xiaochang Li
HSS328
Children of Science
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Carola Ossmer
HSS921
Diversity and Biodiversity: Applying Oral History to Community, Ecology, and Archeology in America’s Amazon
Tools for Historians of Science
Contributed Paper
Kathy Cooke
HSS583
Exploring New "Histories of Nature" with Marine Microbes: Living Matter at the Edge of Life
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Dr. astrid schrader
HSS73
Fact-Checking Herodotus across the Disciplines
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Prof. Suzanne Marchand
HSS658
From Analog to Digital: What Happens When a Historic Film Archive is Stored Electronically?
Tools for Historians of Science
Organized Session
Dr. Anja Sattelmacher