There is a fascinating tradition of depicting solar eclipses in Western art, although these representations have changed over time. Eclipses have often been an important feature of Christian iconography, but valued as much for their biblical significance as for the splendour of the physical event. However, as Western culture passed through the Renaissance and Enlightenment the depictions of eclipses came to reflect new astronomical knowledge and a thirst for rational learning well beyond the confines of the church and other elites. Artists also played a surprisingly important role in helping scientists in the nineteenth century understand and record the full phenomena of an eclipse, even as the advent of photography also came to solve a number of scientific puzzles. In the most recent century, artists have responded to eclipses with symbolism, abstraction and playfulness.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’.
One contribution of 16 to a theme issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’.
- Accepted March 24, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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