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Paper: The Telescope: Outline of a Poetic History
Volume: 441, The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VI
Page: 37
Authors: Stocchi, M. P.
Abstract: Amongst the first editions of Galileo's books, only the Saggiatore has on its frontispiece the image of the telescope. Indeed, the telescope is not pictured on the very emphatic frontispieces of the other books in which Galileo was presenting and defending the results achieved by his celestial observations, such as the Sidereus Nuncius. Many contemporary scientists denied the reliability of the telescope, and some even refused to look into the eyepiece. In the 16th and 17th century, the lenses, mirrors, and optical devices of extraordinary complexity did not have the main task of leading to the objective truth but obtaining the deformation of the reality by means of amazing effects of illusion. The Baroque art and literature had the aim of surprising, and the artists gave an enthusiastic support to the telescope. The poems in praise of Galileo's telescopic findings were quite numerous, including Adone composed by Giovanni Battista Marino, one of the most renowned poets of the time. The Galilean discoveries were actually accepted by the poets as ideologically neutral contributions to the “wonder” in spite they were rejected or even condemned by the scientists, philosophers, and theologians.
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