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Posts Tagged ‘Galileo Galilei

“Immigrants, we get the job done”*…

When the Piccirilli Brothers arrived in New York from Italy in 1888, they brought with them skill, artistry, and passion for stone-carving unrivaled in the United States. At their studio at 467 East 142nd Street, in the Mott Haven Section of the Bronx, the brothers turned monumental slabs of marble into some of the nation’s recognizable icons, including the senate pediment of the US Capitol Building and the statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits resolutely in the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.

The Piccirillis not only helped set our national narrative in stone but they also left an indelible mark on New York City. They carved hundreds of commissions around the five boroughs, including the 11 figures in the pediment of the New York Stock exchange, the “four continents” adorning the Customs House at Bowling Green, the two stately lions that guard the New York Public Library, both statues of George Washington for the Arch at Washington Square, and upwards of 500 individual carvings at Riverside Church…

The remarkable story of a remarkable family: “How six Italian immigrants from the South Bronx carved some of the nation’s most iconic sculptures.” 

* Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Hamilton, to Lafayette in Hamilton)

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As we celebrate sculpture, we might wish a grateful Happy Birthday to another son of Italy, Galileo Galilei, the physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who, with Francis Bacon, pioneered the Scientific Method; he was born on this date in 1564.  It was Galileo’s observations that gave conclusive support to Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system.

Tintoretto’s portrait of Galileo

  source

Dumb and dumber…

source

Readers will recall a recent lament that a plurality of Americans disbelieve evolution, believing instead that God created humans in materially their present form about 10,000 years ago.

It is perhaps some consolation that, as Reuters reports, we have some company:

Does the sun revolve around the Earth? One in every three Russians thinks so, a spokeswoman for state pollster VsTIOM said on Friday.

In a survey released this week, 32 percent of Russians believed the Earth was the center of the Solar system; 55 percent that all radioactivity is man-made; and 29 percent that the first humans lived when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

“It’s really quite amazing,” spokeswoman Olga Kamenchuk said of the survey that polled 1,600 people across Russia’s regions in January, with a 3.4-percent margin of error.

As we pause, dumbstruck, we might wish a grateful Happy Birthday to Galileo Galilei, the physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who, with Francis Bacon, pioneered the Scientific Method; he was born on this date in 1564.  It was Galileo’s observations that gave conclusive support to Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system.

Leoni’s portrait of Galileo (source)

 

“There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools”*…

From the web design house Squidspot,

The Periodic Table of Typefaces (click here for zoomable version)

* a quote from Eric Gill, the creator of, among other fonts, the redoubtable Gill Sans (on the chart above).

As we make an effort to be as careful in choosing our letters as we are our words, we might recall that it was on this date in 1633 that the formal inquest of Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition  began.  Readers will recall that two months later the Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo to recant his conclusion that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe. Galileo is said to have muttered “Eppur si muove!” (“Yet, still, it moves!”).

Cristiano Banti’s 1857 painting, “Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition”

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