Research Programs: Public Scholars

Period of Performance

8/1/2021 - 7/31/2022

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

Liquid Sky: Representations of the Early Modern Sky

FAIN: FZ-272105-20

Maria Hsiuya Loh
CUNY Research Foundation, Hunter College (New York, NY 10065-5024)

Preparation of a book on the renderings and multiple meanings of the sky in European painting from the 14th to 16th centuries.

What did curious individuals see when they turned their eyes to the skies in a distant age before aeronautics and atmospheric physics, before the nine planets and their numerous moons were named, before the discovery of electricity and the invention of photography, and before heliocentrism and the spots on the moon were accepted as givens? How did early modern poets, theologians, and--above all--visual artists articulate their sense of wonder, hope, and anxiety before the ineffable spectacle of the celestial dome? Rather than focusing on the scientific sky of astronomers and physicists to come, Liquid Sky will explore the abstract, puzzling, and volatile sky--at once beautiful and devastating--in the period between Dante’s imagining of paradise and Galileo’s portrait of starry messengers. The project will consider the sky: as chaos and dialectic; as an extension of the artist’s palette; as a cause for wonder and for anxiety; as chromatic instability; and as a marker of time.

Associated Products

Rainbow Power (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Rainbow Power
Abstract: In the summer of 2021, the Union of European Football Associations rejected a request to light up Munich's Allianz Arena in the colors of the rainbow during a match between Germany and Hungary. UEFA asserted that the gesture was seen as a deliberate critique of Hungary's anti-LGBTQ legislation. Their decision, they concluded, was based on their belief that "the rainbow is not a political symbol." Focusing on an early seventeenth-century emblem designed for a Stuart king and prince, this presentation will demonstrate how, to the contrary, rainbows have always been political. They were and remain signs of hope, justice, mercy, and political power.
Author: Maria Loh
Date: 12/12/2021
Location: Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Sponsored by the Getty Research Institute Council, the annual Thomas and Barbara Gaehtgens Lecture series is dedicated to highlighting leading research in the field of global art history.

Rainbow Power (Blog Post)
Title: Rainbow Power
Author: Anya Ventura
Abstract: While today we might associate the rainbow with the gay rights movement, the symbol has long been political, says scholar Maria H. Loh.
Date: 01/25/2022
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Getty News & Stories Rainbow Power
Blog Title: What can a 17th-century rainbow tell us about the past?
Website: Getty News & Stories