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Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography

Fineman, Mia, and Beth Saunders, with an introduction by Tom Hanks
2019
192 pages
150 illustrations
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On July 20, 1969, half a billion viewers around the world watched as the first television footage of American astronauts on the moon was beamed back to earth—a thrilling turning point in the history of images, satisfying an age-old curiosity about our planet’s only natural satellite. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, this captivating volume surveys the role photography has played in the scientific study and artistic interpretation of the moon from the dawn of the medium to the present, highlighting not only stunning photographic works but also related prints, drawings, paintings, and astronomical instruments.

Apollo’s Muse traces the history of lunar photography, from newly discovered daguerreotypes of the 1840s to contemporary film and video works. Along the way, it explores nineteenth century efforts to map the lunar surface, whimsical fantasies of life on the moon, the visual language of the Cold War space race, and work created in response to the moon landing by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Graves, and Aleksandra Mir. A delightful introduction by Tom Hanks, star of the award winning 1995 film Apollo 13, delves into the universal fascination with representations of the cosmos and the ways in which space travel has radically expanded the limits of human vision.

Met Art in Publication

Sir John Herschel, Julia Margaret Cameron  British, born India, Albumen silver print from glass negative
April 1867
"Tumanba Khan, His Wife, and His Nine Sons", Folio from a Chingiznama (Book of Genghis Khan), Basawan  Indian, Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
ca. 1596
Full Moon, Claude Mellan  French, Engraving; first state of two (BN)
1635
The Moon in its First Quarter, Claude Mellan  French, Engraving; first state of two (BN)
1635
The Moon in its Final Quarter, Claude Mellan  French, Engraving; first state of two
1635
[Multiple Exposures of the Moon], Antoine-François-Jean Claudet  French, Daguerreotype
1846–52
The Moon, John Adams Whipple  American, Salted paper print from glass negative
1857–60
Twelve Photographs of the Moon, Austin Augustus Turner  American, Albumen silver prints
Multiple artists/makers
1863
Eclipse of the Sun, W. & F. Langenheim  American, Daguerreotype
Multiple artists/makers
1854
[Solar Eclipse from Caroline Island], H. A. Lawrence  British, Gelatin silver print
May 6, 1883
Lunar Photograph, South Pole, Paul Henry  French, Albumen silver print from glass negative
1890
Systematic Photographic Map of the Moon, Increasing and Decreasing Phases, Charles Le Morvan  French, Photogravures
Multiple artists/makers
1899–1909, published 1914
Systematic Photographic Map of the Moon, Increasing and Decreasing Phases, Charles Le Morvan  French, Photogravures
Multiple artists/makers
1899–1909, published 1914
Balzac, Towards the Light, Midnight, Edward J. Steichen  American, born Luxembourg, Direct carbon print
1908
Plate 7 from 'The collection of the most notable things seen by John Wilkins, erudite English bishop, on his famous trip from the Earth to the Moon... (Raccolta delle cose più notabili Vedute da Giovanni Wilkins erudito Vescove Inglese nel suo famoso viaggio dalla Terra alla Luna...): 'Pumpkins used as dwellings to secure against wild beasts' (Zucche che servono d'abitazioni per garantirsi dalle fiere), Filippo Morghen  Italian, Etching and aquatint
after 1783
Adventures du Baron Munchhausen, Adolf von Gerlach, Baron von Münchhausen  German
Multiple artists/makers
1866
Two Men Contemplating the Moon, Caspar David Friedrich  German, Oil on canvas
ca. 1825–30
[Night View of the Grand Canal, Venice], Carlo Naya  Italian, Albumen silver print from glass negative
ca. 1875
The Pond - Moonrise, Edward J. Steichen  American, born Luxembourg, Platinum print with applied color
1904
Drinking with the Moon, Unknown, Gelatin silver print with applied color
1910s
Showing 20 of 51

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Fineman, Mia, Beth Saunders, and Tom Hanks. 2019. Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.