Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Paintings in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Art is very important to this novel, and there are two paintings that are associated with Ari and Dante, respectively. The painting that Dante claims reminds him of Ari is called Nighthawks, the full name being Nighthawks, 1942, a painting by American artist Edward Hopper. His most famous piece, it is one of the most recognizable American paintings and has been displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago since it was initially sold. It's an oil on canvas study in manmade lighting during the nighttime, and features four "night owls": three men and one woman. The restaurant is allegedly set in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, and although many people have theorized about why there's no door, some sources say that Hopper admitted that he literally forgot one.

The Raft of the Medusa, Dante's painting, is an icon of French Romanticism completed over the years 1818 and 1819 by the French artist Théodore Géricault. At nearly five meters high and over seven meters long, the painting is literally larger than life (if you're interested in a scale comparison, it's the painting that Jay Z is standing in front of at 3:40 of the music video for the song APES**T). Apart from its incredible scale and composition, the process of making The Raft of the Medusa is an incredible story. The painting actually depicts a true story about a French frigate that, on its way to colonize Senegal, ran around a sandbank and began sinking. Because there were not enough lifeboats, 150 people were left behind to survive on one raft—after thirteen horrific days, only ten people survived. This was a political scandal at the time since the captain of the ship was considered unqualified and to have gotten his position as a result of nepotism. In order to be accurate, Géricault not only interviewed two of the ten survivors but also started procuring limbs from various morgues so he could draw the bodies more precisely. Géricault's fellow artist, Eugene Delacroix, said it made such an impression on him, even unfinished, that after viewing it, he "came out of the studio and started running like a madman and did not stop until [he] reached his room."

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