Looking Back at Galileo’s Gianicolo Anniversary (1): The ‘Cabaret’ (14.04.11)

Installation in the Bass Garden by Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, “I Will Keep A Light Burning—Galileo”. Rome, 14 April 2011. Photo by current AAR Fellow Thomas J. Campanella

The American Academy’s Casa Rustica (in the present Bass Garden) occupies the precise site where, on Thursday 14 April 1611, Galileo made his first demonstration to a learned audience in Rome of his new invention, named on this occasion as the “telescope”. To mark the 400th anniversary of this historic achievement, the Academy decided to offer three events, from 7-15 April 2011. You can read a summary of those events, and see the list of sponsors, here.

Below is a photo essay in (more or less) 100 images, of the second and third of these events: an exhibition of historical astronomical instruments from the collection of the Vatican Observatory (Specola Vaticana); and a “Galileo Cabaret” that took place on the exact 400th anniversary (Thursday 14 April 2011) of the baptism of the telescope. The Cabaret and exhibition received worldwide press attention, thanks to AP coverage, that ranged from The Washington Post to The Times of India.

A video recording of the first of these events, a Conversation on science and faith between AAR Director Christopher S. Celenza FAAR’94 and Vatican Astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, will follow in the next post in this series. The AAR warmly thanks Finmeccanica for its generous support which made this anniversary commemoration possible. And now for a summary of the exhibition and Cabaret, that drew over 700 on the evening of 14 April….

6.45 PM Galleria: Historical Astronomical Instruments from the Collection of the Specola Vaticana; Giovanna Latis; Luigi Ontani; Adrian Van Allen [preparation of installation]Luigi Ontani, GalileoChiniLei (detail) (2003); glossy ceramic, height cm 130, diameter cm 51. For the Galileo Cabaret, Ontani—by any reckoning, one of Italy’s greatest living artists—loaned to the AAR this absolutely exquisite large piece, in which the heads of Galileo Galilei and the early 20th century “Stile Liberty” decorative artist Galileo Chini are paired, Janus-like, on a vase with cosmological symbols. The AAR used it as the symbol for the entire Galileo sequence of events. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Above, lighting design Brancusi 03 by Giovanna Latis (AAR Italian Affiliated Fellow in the Arts); below, reproduction of Galileo’s 1610 telescope by Adrian Van Allen (Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize). Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Heliograph, Negretti & Zambra, London – 1870. Marble base, crystal ball with bronze support. 22 x 21,5 x 23 cm, ball diameter 10 cm. Records the number of hours when the sun is shining. Collection of Specola Vaticana—Città del Vaticano. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Originally published under the title Sidereus nuncius (Venice, 1610), Galileo’s work marks the first scientific treatise based on observations made through a telescope. This is one of three variant editions, all published in London, 1653, printed by Jacob Flesher. From the collection of the Arthur & Janet C. Ross Library of the American Academy in Rome. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

6.45 PM Paola Pivi (Italian Affiliated Fellow in the Arts), ‘Leoni’ [preparation of installation]

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

7.30 PM Culture Brothers, ‘ohm namo shiva’ for solo flute

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

7.50 PM Cortile of the McKim, Mead & White building of the AAR

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

AAR Mellon Professor Corey Brennan FAAR’88, who led the organization of the Galileo Cabaret, toasts the sponsorship of Consorzio Tutela Vino Bardolino DOC. At left, Angelo Peretti (Direttore Consorzio); at right, Giorgio Tommasi (Presidente Consorzio). Credit: Madi Gandolfo

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

DJ Riccardo Gasparini with Lorenzo Aldobrandini. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Illustration of the Solar System; artist and date unknown (late 18th century?). Marble slab in a wooden frame; small gemstones are inserted in the marble slab, representing the stars, the sun, and the planets with their moons. On the bottom, there is a painting with allegorical figures representing astronomy and the fine arts. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Solar and Astronomical Quadrant, made by Abbé Berthiaud (1880?). Brass and silver; base 25cm, diameter of the disk 30cm, height 40cm. Determines mean solar time and the current location of constellations for any day of the year. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Cabaret visitors and an astrolabe, made by Cornelio Vincx in Naples (1616). Brass; diam. 240 mm, thickness 11 mm, 4 layers. From the collection of Specola Vaticana—Città del Vaticano. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio


Giovanna Latis, ‘Brancusi 03’ (detail)

8.00 PM Reading by Dava Sobel, author of the bestselling 1999 book Galileo’s Daughter

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

8.30 PM video “Galileo’s Eyes”, projected on the AAR’s Casa Rustica, presented by Enzo Aronica (n[ever]land / Teatro Studio)

The AAR’s Casa Rustica—indeed, this side of the Casa Rustica—marks the exact spot where Galileo demonstrated his new invention of the “telescope” to a learned Roman audience on the evening of Thursday 14 April 1611. Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

8.45 PM Spettacolo astronomico: Gabriele Catanzaro, Massimo Fanelli, Giangiacomo Gandolfi, Stefano Giovanardi, Gianluca Masi (Planetario e Museo Astronomico di Roma), “14 aprile 1611: Galileo al Gianicolo”


9.10 PM Cortile of the McKim, Mead & White building of the AAR

Display of telescopes by one the most welcome sponsors of the “Galileo Cabaret”, Unitron Italia instruments. Credit: Corey Brennan

T-shirts for the event were designed by Marco Raparelli (Italian Affiliated Fellow in the Arts). Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio


Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Event sponsor Madi Gandolfo (MADI olive oil) at left center, with AAR Rome Sustainable Food Project Executive Chef Mona Talbott


Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

9.10 PM AAR Bass Garden, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil (Académie de France à Rome, Villa Medici), “I Will Keep A Light Burning”

500 candles arranged precisely in the configuration of the night sky as it appeared 14 April 1611. Credit: Thomas J. Campanella

Credit: Thomas J. Campanella

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

9.15 PM music and video: Huck Hodge (Luciano Berio Rome Prize in Musical Composition) and Karen Yasinsky (Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize in Visual Arts), “pools of shadow from an older sky” (World Premiere)

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Composer Huck Hodge at the piano and computer. The AAR commissioned his piece for the occasion. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

9.35 PM: Paola Pivi (Italian Affiliated Fellow in the Arts), ‘Leoni’

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

9.45 PM Installation by Helidon Gjergji in Casa Rustica basement, “Constellations”

Video intervention by Helidon Gjergji in the 16th century levels of the Casa Rustica. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

9.45 PM video “Galileo’s Eyes” (encore), projected on the AAR’s Casa Rustica, presented by Enzo Aronica (n[ever]land / Teatro Studio)

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

Credit: Enzo Aronica

10.00 PM music and video: Paul Rudy (Elliott Carter Rome Prize in Musical Composition) and Erika Eckert (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder), with Casey Brown (Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture), “2012 Stories: At Rome Around Jovian Moons” (World Premiere)

Erika Eckert on viola from window in Casa Rustica at left; Paul Rudy in steadily growing rain on stage at right. You can listen to the piece, commissioned by the AAR for the occasion, here. Credit: Corey Brennan

11.00 PM, concluding the evening with a performance on the traditional Tibetan Dung-chen, Culture Brothers

Credit: Corey Brennan

11.15 PM AAR Bass Garden, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil (Académie de France à Rome, Villa Medici), “I Will Keep A Light Burning”

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, “I Will Keep A Light Burning – Galileo”. Rome 14 April 2011. Courtesy In Situ-Fabienne Leclerc Gallery. Photo and copyright: Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil

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