Balakier, James J.

Spatial Infinite at Greenwich in Works by Christopher Wren, James Thornhill, and James Thomson the Newton Connection
1995 0-7734-9057-4
This interdisciplinary study is an extensive examination, from a comparative arts perspective, of the impact of Newton's Principia on the art and literary theory and practice of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Greenwich connection with Newtonian science is exemplified by Sir Christopher Wren's spatially-extended, open-center design for the Greenwich Naval Hospital complex, the site of the Royal Observatory, and his application of Newtonian "conics" to the site; James Thornhill's Newtonian-based spatial treatment and iconography in the illusionistic ceiling painting in the Lower Hall at Greenwich; and James Thomson's celebration of the Royal Observatory in Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton as a locus for the Newtonian exploration of the universe, to which he gives dynamic form. The book includes a survey of the development of Newtonianism and its influence on English culture in general along with its role in the development of the aesthetics of the sublime. Illustrated with photographs.