James Thornhill's "The Glorification of William and Mary": A Newtonian Spatial Allegory

Dr. Ann Stewart Balakier,
Dr. James Balakier
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The purpose of this essay is firstly to offer a commentary on the special historical significance of this particular illusionistic ceiling painting, which grandly honors Isaac Newton along with his predecessors in spatial physics, namely Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and (probably) Galileo, as well as the contemporary Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed (1646-1719). Their iconographical significance as the giants of astronomy, which was the basis of the navigational science that was vital to the success of the Royal Navy, will be examined in detail. This discussion will set the stage for an extended analysis of the possible effects of Newtonianism and related scientific developments on Thornhill.

Keywords: James Thornhill, The Glorification of William and Mary, Lower Painted Hall, Greenwich Naval Hospital, Sir Isaac Newton, Baroque ceiling paintings
Stream: Aesthetics, Design
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: James Thornhill’s ‘The Glorication of William and Mary’

Dr. Ann Stewart Balakier

Ph. D., Professor of Art History, Art Department, University of South Dakota

Dr Ann Stewart Balakier teaches Art History at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. She has published on Baroque subjects and has co-authored with Dr James J. Balakier "Spatial Infinite and Selected Newtonian Works" by Christopher Wren, James Thornhill and James Thomson: "The Greenwich Connection".

Dr. James Balakier

Associate Professor, English Department, University of South Dakota

James J. Balakier teaches in the English Department at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota. He has published widely on Thomas Traherne and has co-authored with Ann Stewart Balakier.

Ref: H05P0113