The Astronomer (c.1668). Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632-1675). Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris
The globe was marketed by Jodocus Hondius in 1600. The book lying in front of the astronomer has been identified as the 1621 second edition of a work by Adriaen Metius, On the Investigation or Observation of the Stars, and it is open at the beginning of Book III, where not only knowledge of geometry and the aid of mechanical instruments are recommended for this research but also “inspiration from God.” The painting that hangs on the wall behind the astronomer has for its subject the Finding of Moses, and perhaps acknowledges the same need for divine inspiration.