Galileo Honored by Vatican and American Academy in Rome, on Anniversary

0
252

LONDON.-Four hundred years after Galileo Galilei first demonstrated his telescope to scholars on a Roman hilltop, the astronomer condemned by the Catholic Church was celebrated on the same spot with a multimedia art exhibit that, oddly enough, included an installation from the Vatican. Heliographs, astrolabes and other antique astrological instruments that belong to the Vatican Observatory stood alongside contemporary art inspired by Galileo and his science: rows of intensely hot, blindingly bright floodlights simulating the sun; a performance by a Tibetan musician playing a telescope-like horn. The event took place Thursday night at the American Academy in Rome, a research center for the arts and humanities whose gardens lie on the exact spot where, on the night of April 14, 1611, Galileo showed off his telescope for the first time to the most important scholars of his