A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery, Joseph Wright of Derby (oil on canvas, 1766) A key idea of the Age of Enlightenment—that empirical observation grounded in science and reason could best advance society—is expressed by the faces of the individuals in Joseph Wright of Derby’s A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery. David in this scene […]

The Raft of Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1818) Public Domain The travellers pass “the boundary that divides / the second from the third ring”  [Inf. 14.4-5] and see before them a witness to “the horrible art of justice”: a dread work that justice had devised [Inf. 14.6]. The third ring of the seventh circle is devoted to […]