New York displays centuries of Moon depictions - GulfToday

New York displays centuries of Moon depictions

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A man looks at "Atlas Photographique de la lune" (1894-1908) by Maurice Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux.

Approximately two weeks before of the five-decade mark since the 1969 space trip that landed the first two people on Earth's satellite, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will unveil its "Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography."

400 years of depictions of the Moon via photography will be on display at New York's Met ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.

Visitors however, are not limited to the recent past. On display will be works dating as far back as 1610, when Galileo etched the giant glowing body in a book of astronomical observations.

"The Moon has always been an object of both science and art, observation and imagination," said exhibit curator Mia Fineman, during a press presentation.

The Moon has been photographed since the medium's earliest days, and in 1840 American John William Draper made the first daguerreotype -- an early version of the photo using silver-plated copper.

"The fascination with the Moon and the development of photography were linked and connected from the very beginning of this particular medium," said Met Director Max Hollein.

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People look at a drawing by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot called "Total Eclipse of the Sun" (1882).

Special telescopes were developed with the sole purpose of photography and astrophotography became a trend in its own right.

As snapshots of the Moon grew ever more precise, they circulated among the general public, increasing its mystique while bringing it up close and in person for many for the first time.

At the turn of the 20th century, Maurice Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux's "Photographic Atlas of the Moon" marked a turning point.

From 1894 to 1908, the pair meticulously charted the Moon from the Paris Observatory, home to the most powerful telescope in the world at the time.

The entirety of their work has been reproduced for the first time for a museum at the Met.

"It's our closest celestial companion," Fineman said of the Moon. "It's the only other planet that we can see clearly with the naked eye. And so it's something that's both near and far, both constant and changing. It's a paradox."

The exhibit is open through September 22.

Agence France-Presse