On a possible portrait of the young Galileo: Galileo Galilei as you have never seen

Paolo Molaro
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste

We describe the possible discovery of a new portrait of a relatively young Galileo Galilei. The painting is not signed and the identification is mainly physiognomic. The face reveals clear resemblance to Domenico Tintoretto's portrait and to Giuseppe Calendi's engraving derived from a lost portrait made by Santi di Tito. Along with the portraits by Tintoretto, Furini, Leoni, Passignano and Sustermans this could be another portrait of Galileo made al naturale, but, unlike the others, it depicts the scientist before he reached fame. Galileo in the painting looks rather young, at age of about 20-25 years. His eyes in the portrait are clear and the expression intense and appealing. The painter is also unknown but could be one of the many painters from the circle of Galileo's friends. From Galileo's correspondence we know of a portrait made by his friend Ludovico Cigoli. Rather interesting, though admittedly quite improbable, is the possibility of a self-portrait whose existence is mentioned in the first biography of Galileo by Salusbury in 1664. We conclude with some considerations on the Moon watercolors made by Galileo and used as a preparatory work for the engravings published in the Sidereus Nuncius.

25 maio 2012, 13:30

Centro de Astrofísica
Rua das Estrelas
4150-762 Porto