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Paintings by Jan Brueghel
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Title: Early Telescopes and Ancient Scientific Instruments in the Paintings of Jan Brueghel the Elder
Author: Pierluigi Selvelli, Paolo Molaro (INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Italy)

Ancient instruments of high interest for research on the origin and diffusion of early scientific devices in the late XVI - early XVII centuries are reproduced in three paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder. We investigated the nature and the origin of these instruments, in particular the spyglass depicted in a painting dated 1609-1612 that represents the most ancient reproduction of an early spyglass, and the two sophisticated spyglasses with draw tubes that are reproduced in two paintings, dated 1617-1618. We suggest that these two instruments may represent early examples of keplerian telescopes. Concerning the other scientific instruments, namely an astrolabe, an armillary sphere, a nocturnal, a proportional compass, surveying instruments, a Mordente's compass, a theodolite, etc., we point out that most of them may be associated with Michiel Coignet, cosmographer and instrument maker at the Court of the Archduke Albert VII of Hapsburg in Brussels.

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RE: Early spyglasses
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One of Brueghel's paintings, according to study authors Paolo Molaro and Pierluigi Selvelli, contains the first known depiction of a telescope. In Extensive Landscape with View of the Castle of Mariemont,  circa 1608-1611, Archduke Albert VII of Hapsburg holds a spyglass of the kind Galileo famously trained on the moon 400 years ago this fall. (Brueghel was Albert's court painter.) What is more, Molaro and Selvelli argue, letters and documents from the 17th century suggest that the archduke obtained telescopes from their as-yet-unidentified inventor.
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Image credit Jan Brueghel the Elder

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Title: The mystery of the telescopes in Jan Brueghel the Elder's paintings
Authors: Paolo Molaro, Pierluigi Selvelli

Several early spyglasses are depicted in five paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder completed between 1608 and 1625, as he was court painter of Archduke Albert VII of Habsburg. An optical tube that appears in the Extensive Landscape with View of the Castle of Mariemont, dated 1608-1612, represents the first painting of a telescope whatsoever. We collected some documents showing that Albert VII obtained spyglasses very early directly from Lipperhey or Sacharias Janssen. Thus the painting likely reproduces one of the first man-made telescopes ever. Two other instruments appear in two Allegories of Sight made in the years 1617 and 1618. These are sophisticated instruments and the structure suggests that they may be keplerian, but this is about two decades ahead this mounting was in use.

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