Painting - Law of Orbiting Velocity (Kepler)

Description
This work illustrates two laws of planetary motion proposed by the German mathematician Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) in his book Astronomia Nova (New Astronomy) of 1609. Kepler argued that planets move about the sun in elliptical orbits, with the sun at one focus of the ellipse. He also claimed that a planet moves about the sun in such a way that a line drawn from the planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal times. The ellipse in the work represents the path of a planet and the white sections equal areas. The extraordinary contrast between the deep blue and white colors dramatize this phenomenon.
This oil painting on masonite has a wooden frame. It is signed: CJ65. It also is marked on the back: Crockett Johnson 1965 (/) LAW OF ORBITING VELOCITY (/) (KEPLER). It is #22 in the series. The work follows an annotated diagram from Crockett Johnson’s copy of Newman's The World of Mathematics (1956), p. 231. Compare to paintings #76 (1979.1093.50) and #99 (1979.1093.66).
Reference: Arthur Koestler, The Watershed (1960).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting
date made
1965
referenced
Kepler, Johannes
painter
Johnson, Crockett
Physical Description
masonite (substrate material)
wood (frame material)
Measurements
overall: 82 cm x 102.2 cm x 3.8 cm; 32 5/16 in x 40 1/4 in x 1 1/2 in
ID Number
1979.1093.16
catalog number
1979.1093.16
accession number
1979.1093
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Art
Crockett Johnson
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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