These subtle references to the tilt angle of the Earth in ancient art have not been acknowledged in the mainstream but are indeed important in our understanding of the ancient cultures who encoded them, as myself and others like 32nd Degree Mason Frank C. Higgins for instance, who was actively writing books in the second decade of the 20th Century that featured early encoded references to the angle of 23.5 degrees, have discovered and acknowledged.
While researching into this subject it becomes clear that a very long time ago there were people who possessed an advanced geophysical knowledge of our planet and long before the weighty dogma of irrational beliefs had been laid down by the Church, forcing a large percentage of humanity into a ‘Dark Age’ of ignorance.
The Catholic Church was very powerful during the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ as well as the ‘Middle Ages’ – and really until the dawning of Science and the so-called ‘Age of Enlightenment’ – so to be branded a heretic was very dangerous to one’s health.
Those who understood the wisdom of the ancients and knew certain truths about the origins or Christianity – information which could undermine the Church – would have had to be seen to “toe the line” and so knowledge, which would have been seen as “heretical” and otherwise suppressed and stamped-out by the Church, would have been encoded – not only to preserve this knowledge, but also to secretly pass it onto others.
The religious persecutions made by the Church which increased between the 15th and 16th centuries culminated in the trial and execution of philosopher Giordano Bruno in Rome in 1600, who was burned at the stake for publically spreading his own ‘infinite’ cosmology of the universe and his own mixed brand of Neo-Platonism and Renaissance Hermetical science. What people don't know is that Bruno was an Illuminatus, (a member of the Illuminati).
The savage execution of Bruno sent a shock wave throughout Europe . . . the message was clear: “Heretics would not be tolerated”.
It’s no wonder then that we find more paintings with these Earth's axis angle references dating from the 1600s than any other period in history.
Many philosophers, artists, occultists and men of science, were forced “underground”, and so as a way of communicating with each other using symbolism and other means, ancient knowledge and wisdom, as well as the most recent scientific discoveries, were encoded in various sources to preserve it for future generations.
Giving some reference to this knowledge by encoding it, also served as ‘a voice’ for these people – many of them geniuses, who must have felt frustrated knowing things that were closer to the truth but which they could not openly express for fear of attracting the wrong kind of attention and the severest forms of punishment.
Having to encode this knowledge presented a paradox in which these people often walked a knife edge.
Most no doubt had a vain wish in declaring their genius and their depth of knowledge and on things that could possibly change the world, but knowing that at the same time they had to conceal it, painfully dashed any personal desire associated with the imagined good fortune and public recognition, which in an ideal world would arrive naturally with the acceptance of paradigm-changing discoveries.
Aside from the use of ‘symbolism’, which has been used since ‘time immemorial’, the ideal medium for any code or cipher, and without it being obvious that one has encoded information, is the Arts.
After all, to some extent, one has artistic licence to use any imagery one likes in the composition. It’s no surprise then to find that many architectural buildings, sculptures – especially illustrations and paintings – contain codes . . . and often the same code as I myself and others have discovered.
Beginning with the darkest kind – i.e., common blasphemies at the time, like Satanism, witchcraft, magic – leading on up to the kinds of heresies associated with diverse religious views, philosophies, beliefs and other faiths such as Catharism and of course Islam, which always threatened Christian Europe – are one thing . . . but what was it exactly that the Church had against the new pioneers of science?
Also, it is a fact that Poussin used to sign his work "Tenet Confidentiam"* (“keeper of secrets”).
*The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, 1983, p. 185.
Nicolas Poussin, like many other artists who were commissioned by the Church, was a Jesuit but he was also an ‘initiate into the mysteries’ – who again, like many others – encoded sensitive information in his paintings.
I have seen examples where cleverly-concealed insults have been aimed at the Pope and other men of the Church, even in the portraits of these individuals.
For instance the portrait of Pope Julius II (1545) by Titian, which was brought to my attention and pointed out by Australian art collector, Ian Henderson – shows a direct insult using a vague reference to the female anatomy.
Ian’s educated guess was that the insult may have something to do with the fact that Julius II had knocked down the old Roman pagan Temple of Cybele (the Phrygianum) between 1505 and 1506 to pave way for St Peter’s Basilica.
Most of us don’t think about the encoded or additional information in paintings ever dropping to this level, because perhaps having the intellectual capacity to ‘know’ that information was encoded and to be able to discover this for ourselves, we tend to look for information that is more esoteric or arcane.
But really people are human after all and we can see why people would have done this also, as would anyone who knows that such people who are a part of and administer these institutions – especially political and religious ones – are basically and generally hypocritical and corrupt.
It’s natural then that there would be lot of resentment aimed at these institutions of power and their powerbrokers by those who feel trapped and chained to these institutions and as a result have had their god-given rights and freedoms taken from them.
However, in the most part Ancient, spiritual wisdom was also encoded along with the scientific discoveries made at that time.
Again, some artists were even commissioned by ‘initiate’ infiltrators who had secured various influential positions within the Church.
All this secrecy resulted in the emergence of various groups . . . Secret Societies to preserve this ancient spiritual knowledge and wisdom and also perhaps the true history of mankind.
Knowledge based on the arcane secrets of Alchemy, the Qabbalah, Hermeticism and Rosicrucianism – all infused with the esoteric Gnostic teachings also based on ancient Egyptian wisdom (being one of the true sources of the Christian teachings and the Messianic mythos which is universal and really communicates the belief that everyone of us has the potential to reach Godhood as we are all manifestations of God) – was combined with the metaphysical knowledge and wisdom of Mesopotamia, ancient India, China and the Far East.
This Knowledge and Wisdom was associated with the freedom of direct personal experience; communion with the ‘Source-Centre of Creation’ . . . self- empowerment and enlightenment . . . Not dependent on any organised religion, belief or man-made, central power base.
So in this project, Poussin may have taken the opportunity to encode more information as he had already done with many of his previous paintings.
Having an enquiring mind and having been fascinated by the Rennes mystery, it was between 1997 and 2001 that I devoted my mind and time to the task of examining, and even attempting to decipher the paintings mentioned in the best-selling book by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
Naturally my first choice was the most famous painting by Nicolas Poussin, titled Les Bergers d’Acardie (version II).
On first seeing this painting and when told that there is a code hiding within this enigmatic scene – a code, which has never been deciphered properly and conclusively – most people will immediately examine the angles of the three wooden staffs held by the male shepherds.
Many believe that the angles of these staffs are associated with pentagonal geometry (five-pointed stars.)
Some have been able to create large pentacle stars from the staffs that extend beyond the borders of the painting and have then gone onto demonstrate how these pentacles are again associated with Rennes le Château.
By overlaying these pentacles on the map of the Languedoc area, some researchers have found that several important locations line up with the main points of these pentacles, therefore providing evidence or “proof” that the code in Poussin’s painting is all about important sacred locations in the French Languedoc region.
Again, these assumptions are based on the information that has arisen from detailed research into this area and the sensational theories that resulted from this research and then published in the book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
This book has been so influential that no one has thought of looking elsewhere . . .
Well after some months I discovered that aside from the additional symbolism it contains – notably esoteric in origin and association – this painting also contains a direct reference to the Orion star constellation and the Precessional Cycle of roughly 26,000 years.
The two extreme positions on the Giza Meridian of the Orion star constellation, which historians say was used by the ancients as a ‘gauge-marker’ for this cycle, appeared to be present in the painting . . . how Orion appeared 13,000 years ago - i.e., 11,000 BCE, and how Orion would appear in 2000 AD. (See presentation The Arcadian Shepherds Version II).
However, one could say that we could find anything we want to find in paintings and other symbolic sources; that we will see what we believe.
My attention then turned to Poussin’s other paintings to see if there was anything similar encoded in these that could support what I had discovered in his most famous work.
I suspected that his other paintings would contain either the same information or perhaps information related to what I had previously found in the two versions of The Arcadian Shepherds and so I began looking closely at Poussin’s notable self-portraits of which there are also two versions.
It has been suggested that like the Arcadian Shepherds paintings, these particular paintings do indeed contain a code of some kind.
As one source puts it . . . ‘each detail cries out for decoding, and each has been interpreted in multiple ways’* . . . and this is exactly what we find with these two self-portraits.
*Portrait of the Artist, Nicolas Poussin (1650),
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian. Saturday, October 5, 2002.
The background to these paintings is that during his late 50s, Poussin finally decided to paint his own portrait – remarking that there was really no other artist in Rome who was up to the task; surprisingly, both paintings were completed within a period of several months.
The first self-portrait by Poussin, which we will examine later in this presentation, was painted in 1649 and now hangs in the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.
The second, which is more interesting and which we will examine first, was painted in 1650 and hangs in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.
Being burdened with this sort of blind ignorance we can see why people also continued to believe the Earth was flat – and this hundreds of years after the ancients – especially the hierophants and adept priests of the scientifically more advanced cultures of Chaldea, ancient Egypt and India had known it all correctly the first time.
As we can see, there’s no doubt whatsoever, that part of the answer as regards these encoded references to the Earth’s obliquity angle and mostly between the 15th and 18th centuries, is associated with the staunch celestial beliefs that were promulgated by the Church and which were later reinforced and with such ferocity in the face of the emerging alternative views that began with the Reformation in the 1500s, and the re-discovery of ancient Greek manuscripts which had been preserved and brought over from the East.
For example, a Greek philosopher of the Pythagorean school, Philolaus (c. 480–385 BCE), described an astronomical system in which the celestial bodies all revolved about a central fire.
Then there’s the Greek philosopher and astronomer Heraclides Ponticus (387–312 BCE), who proposed that the Earth rotated on its axis.
And finally, we have the Greek astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus of Samos (310 – ca. 230 BCE), who presented the first known heliocentric model of the solar system; his hypothesis was that the fixed stars and the sun remained motionless, that the Earth revolves about the sun in the circumference of a circle, and that the Earth rotates about its axis every 24 hours.
Also we should not be naive in thinking that the ancients didn’t know the Earth was tilted at around 23 degrees.
Long before the Greeks, the earliest astronomers had managed to calculate the tilt of the Earth by measuring the shadows cast by a simple stick, or indeed obelisks and pillars, as was used originally by the ancient Egyptians to determine these facts about the Earth – information and knowledge that was also jealously guarded by many of these ‘astronomer priests’ and hierophants.
Not only was the Earth’s obliquity calculated through using this technique, of which more will be said later, but also the whole circumference of the Earth could be calculated as the Greek astronomer and mathematician Eratosthenes (276–194 BCE) had discovered.
Anyway, these and the new scientific discoveries that were being made with the arrival of the Greek manuscripts, all led to the Renaissance, and it was during this time that the persecutions made by the Church were in full swing to stamp out the “heretical beliefs” that threatened its authority.
However, in the wake of these persecutions, some were bold enough to publish knowledge of the tilted Earth and as early as the late 17th century.
For example, the English poet, John Milton gave vague reference to the tilt (obliquity) of the celestial polar axis in his famous work, Paradise Lost, written sixty five years after Bruno was executed – as did Thomas Burnet in his Telluris Theoria Sacra, (The Sacred Theory of the Earth) – written in 1681.
And we can see how the ideas of Aristarchus were taken up again some 1800 years later: first by Copernicus, whose book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) was completed in 1543 and just before he died, and developed further by Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, when these persecutions by the Church began to wane.
So what we see here, is perhaps a glimpse into the minds of those who defied the wrong and staunchly-defended views of the Church, and who were active as part of a secret ‘covert resistance’ against the Church, by also ‘encoding’ the tilt angle of the Earth in many different sources, thereby bringing to light the true condition of the Earth and its place in the universe for those who had the eyes to see it and all in accord with the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients.
In any case, what comes to mind when viewing the many sources in which this angle is evident, is that these angle references reveal the truly heretical truth that God’s plan is not perfect; that the tilt of the Earth which was seen as unnatural also indicates that the fate of the Earth is uncertain and that its tilted condition may be the result of a global cataclysm in the past.
This of course means that rather than the Earth being a superlative example of God’s creation in which ‘certainty’ and ‘order’ reign and are maintained throughout the universe, that on the contrary, this imperfect image of a ‘skewed’ Earth in orbit around the Sun reveals our planet has an inferior position in the universe and in God’s plan; that it is also vulnerable to ‘uncertainty’ and ‘chaos’ and is therefore prey to the random wanderings of smaller celestial bodies and any series or periodic cycles involving natural cataclysms that may befall it.
There’s no denying that even today the number ‘23’ has some occult significance. In any case, one would be forgiven for suggesting that perhaps some past catastrophic event had caused the tilt in the first place.
But what makes this particular theory convincing, is that these angle references and what they appear to be conveying, is in stark contrast to the views of the Church which were being enforced at the time when many of these angles were also being added into paintings on certain religious themes; and it is this that reveals both the motive and the reason why these references were subtly added and secretly encoded.
Ironically, we find these codes in paintings that had even been commissioned by elite members of the Catholic Church – many of them unaware that they had been patron to ‘heretic initiates’. No doubt many of these initiates had infiltrated the Vatican and were behind a good number of these commissions, benefactions and investments in art, sculpture and architecture.
Whatever the reason, it appears that the encoding of specific angles associated with the Earth’s geophysics has largely been a tradition with artists and for hundreds of years, because I have found that even today there are artists who appear to be encoding the same angle(s) in their works even though the Church and the Inquisition are no longer active.
One can only conclude from the sheer volume of the references we find to this angle, that the people behind them – artists especially – belonged to a secret fraternity spanning many generations.
If having been passed down by tradition, it’s likely that these angles were used by artists who were initiated into the meaning behind them.
The initiate artists who encoded these angles in their paintings, sketches, woodcuts and other works of art are numerous, and they include Raphael, Da Vinci, Poussin, Tenniers, Heironymous Bosch and also Albrecht Dürer – and really the list goes on and right up to the present day.
But it’s also fair to say – and because of the sheer volume of paintings I have found with references to the Earth’s obliquity angle of 23.5° – that many artists may have just been following tradition, not really knowing the real meaning as to why they should paint swords, spears, trees, staffs, limbs, bones and other linear objects at this same angle.
Again this angle also turns up in Poussin's paintings and any notion that Poussin also encoded secret information in his paintings for initiates like himself, there is no doubt as the following quotes show:
Since the publication of this book, much has been written about the Rennes mystery with some claiming to have solved it, others presenting the story as fact, and others presenting the story as fiction.
The associated themes are now many and convoluted and so I won’t dwell too much on it here – suffice to say that the phenomenon is still going strong, indeed stronger than ever.
However, when we dig deeper into this mystery we find that many of these beliefs have their origin in suppositions, ideas, theories and projections that serve to cover an even greater secret.
Like most things, the Rennes mystery has become a focus for what we believe or ‘want to believe’ – in that we tend to project our own ideas and beliefs onto this mystery which has now become a “broth” spoiled by the attendance of too many “chefs.”
It’s possible that many of these theories bear some factual relevance to the whole mystery as everything in existence is closely connected at some ‘deeper level’.
And its indeed possible that some theorists are pointing out certain ‘facts’ that even the “conspirators” of the mystery were/are unaware of, as there also exist the more ‘subjective connections’ which are no less meaningful as everything is intimately linked to the collective human psyche.
I say this because there are some interesting themes associated with the mystery that indeed alludes to the conclusions I am putting forward in this present work.
If much of the mystery surrounding Rennes-le-Château really is a hoax as many now believe, then it’s possible that in their endeavour to falsify or fictionalise certain exoteric and esoteric connections – which on the surface are generally seen as “non-existent” – the “hoaxers” may have tapped into a rich vein of information known only to the ‘mystery schools’ and occult traditions, and which had remained in secrecy for thousands of years.
For example, the ‘Nautonnier’ theme could still warrant further investigation as it could indeed belong to a valid source of information which the “hoaxers” may have tapped into and adopted without knowing the deeper meaning behind it all.
And if so, then Poussin’s connection to the intriguing speculations and mysterious events that surround what might amount to a ‘fictitious’ Prieuré de Sion, may indeed only be a consequence of the information and profound knowledge these “impostors” were exploiting.
That Poussin knew something of profound importance cannot be denied, and we find justification for this in the things the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail discovered – clues that matched the criterion of esoteric knowledge I had already come to understand to some degree.
For instance, we are told that in 1656, Poussin received a visit to his studio in Rome from the Abbé Lois Fouquet, brother of Nicolas Fouquet – Superintendent of Finances to Louis XIV of France. What the two men discussed will never be known exactly, but soon after this meeting, Lois Fouquet dispatched a letter to his brother, describing what he learned from Poussin:
There are several paintings cited in the book – paintings like St. Anthony and St. Paul by Teniers, La Fontaine de Fortune by Rene d’Anjou (1457), Et in Arcadia Ego by Guercino (1618), and the two versions of Les Bergers d’Acardie by Poussin (c. 1627 and 1640 respectively) – which by the way, also include the cryptic phrase, “Et In Arcadia Ego” a phrase which has since become a popular slogan for this mystery and one we shall examine in due course.
It is clear that Poussin and these other contemporary painters of the era, David Teniers (the Younger) and Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (otherwise known as “Guercino”) were privy to important information associated with certain mystery schools.
Since the time the book was first published, the consensus opinion is that these paintings each contain a similar cipher or code associated with the Rennes le Château mystery, possible leading to treasure or artefacts relating to the Holy Grail and the secret bloodline of Christ.
The book The Da Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown is a fictional work spun from the theories first presented in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, however, the bloodline of Christ or the Holy Grail is not what these paintings are about – well not directly in any case.
In my view, these paintings, which indeed contain revelatory information, have never really been satisfactorily deciphered, and in this regard, my interest is in the paintings of Nicolas Poussin – one of the few artists who are cited in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail as having held the “key” to an important secret – at least this much is fact.
In my opinion the secrets these paintings convey – especially Poussin's two self portraits – point to one of the most important locations on the Earth – Giza in Egypt – and point to something more incredible than any of the more sensational religious theories that have emerged from the Rennes mystery only to find their way into a recently published fictional novel to then be exploited as the truth.
As I later discovered, and as I have outlined in the previous presentation, it would seem that through associations this painter had with some of the greatest intellectual minds of his day – for example, the famous Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) – Poussin was made aware of certain secrets about the Great Pyramid and Giza; secrets that haven’t seen the light of day since they were first conceived and encoded within the complex geometrical architecture of this magnificent conundrum in stone.
Of course, it’s possible that Poussin’s connections to the mystery have been falsified and that he had nothing to do with the so-called mysteries of Rennes-le-Château.
However, there’s no question that he was respected as an initiate of some standing; associated with some very powerful people who understood the ancient myths, had adopted the principles of Egyptian mysticism, and who had reason to believe that the ancient Egyptians were heirs to the knowledge and wisdom of a lost civilisation or culture that once flourished during a ‘Golden Age’ . . . an age, in which it was believed – and still believed by some today – that the Earth was once upright, or should be and that with an axis at zero obliquity we would be closer to God that we all are, and everything would be in balance.
These beliefs I have also examined to some extent, as they appear to be the answer as to why the angle of 23.5 degrees has been encoded in so many sources – even in Poussin's paintings and the Arcadian paintings – and I approach these beliefs not without some caution and trepidation, as they are beliefs that in the most part, run contrary to the general consensus thought of today and appear to contradict the established facts.
According to the author's sources, the Grand Master of the Priory is known as the Nautonnier – meaning, “navigator” or “helmsman.”
These nautical terms suggest a link with the sea and most possibly a ‘survival situation’ – i.e., one’s navigation through treacherous waters or perilous terrain towards safety, refuge or sanctuary.
Although this detail is most interesting, again we should be cautious with anything associated with the Prieuré de Sion – especially the history of this secret society, as given by the sources relied on by the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
Located in the Languedoc region in southern France, Rennes-le-Château is said to be connected with the Cathars, Gnosticism, the Knights Templar, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, the genealogies of the legendary Merovingian Kings of France and hidden treasure.
The stories surrounding Rennes-le-Château, which has now become a “cottage industry” in France, was first brought to the public’s attention by the best-selling book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, and seeing as this was one of the first books of its genre that had interested me deeply, it would serve us well to give a brief outline of the book.
First published in 1983, this book set a precedent for other books of its genre and spawned a whole new international media industry specializing in conspiracy theories, alternative history and the latest study known as ‘cryptohistory’.
The central theme of the book is based on what appears to be an “archaic” secret society, the Prieuré de Sion, (the ‘Order of Sion’ or ‘Priory of Sion’), which claims strong links with the Knights Templar. Investigations into the Rennes-le-Château mystery, as
outlined in the book, appear to have also uncovered Poussin’s links with the Prieuré de Sion.
On the surface lay the beliefs that the Prieuré de Sion has guardianship over the Holy Grail (thought to be the sacred icon of the Merovingians) and that the Society has an agenda to restore the monarchy in France – the chosen monarch being a descendent of the Merovingian line of Frankish kings who were deposed by the Carolingians and who were themselves former court officials to the kings of the Merovingian dynasty.
It is said that the Merovingians were the descendants of the ancient Hebrews – especially the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ and the ‘Davidic Line’ – and therefore Jesus and his “sister”, “wife”, or “lover”, Mary Magdalene.
According to a document, the Priory of Sion ‘Grandmaster list’ includes many historically renowned figures such as the alchemist Nicolas Flamel who was Grandmaster between 1398 and 1418, Rene d’Anjou (1418–1480), Leonardo da Vinci (1510–1519), Sir Isaac Newton (1691–1727), Claude Debussy (1885–1918) and Jean Cocteau (1918–1963).
It would perhaps surprise many to learn that the encoded information within the Great Pyramid (see here), was first discovered through studying and deciphering the hidden codes in two ‘self-portrait’ paintings by the French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665).
Copyright © Gary Osborn 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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As some will no doubt already know, the name ‘Poussin’ crops up constantly in conjunction with the mysteries surrounding a small church named Rennes-le-Château . . .
‘He and I discussed certain things, which I shall with ease be able to explain to you in detail – things which will give you, through Monsieur Poussin, advantages which Kings would have great pains to draw from him, and which, according to him, it is possible that nobody else will ever rediscover in the centuries to come. And what is more, these things are so difficult to discover that nothing now on this Earth can prove of better fortune nor be their equal’.
On the request of his king – and not long after receiving his brother’s letter, Nicolas Fouquet (King Louis’ Superintendent) was arrested and imprisoned for life.
The king then seized and inspected all of Fouquet’s correspondence.
We are told by the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, that according to some accounts, Fouquet “was held strictly incommunicado – and some historians regard him as a likely candidate for the Man in the Iron Mask”.
In recent times, and since the publication in 1983 of the The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the theme of The Arcadian Shepherds have become Poussin’s most popular and well-known paintings.
We are told that in the years that followed, King Louis went out of his way to secure the original of Les Bergers d’Arcadie (The Shepherds of Arcadia) Version II.
When at last he succeeded in 1685, he ordered that it be locked away in a vault in the Palace of Versailles, and so there it stayed for many years, and though it is now on display to the public, still it has remained a mystery until the day I examined it up close while visiting the Louvre.
“Poussin himself said his paintings had a definite and even secret import when he suggested that “ . . . these things, (the meaning in his paintings) I believe, will not displease those people who know how to read them”.
Art scholar Judith Bernstock says that to ‘receive Poussin’s paintings . . . one must study them continually and closely, always searching them for connections’. As Bernini said Poussin was ‘an artist who works up here' (pointing to his head: i.e. with his brain) and he was someone who was also 'a great storyteller’. The suggestion that the paintings of Poussin have a hidden meaning then comes from the mouth of the artist himself. Poussin had indicated that the meaning in his paintings could be discerned by those who knew how to read them. By this he meant his patrons or others who were able to read the canvases, in other words, those who were initiated”.
The Arcadian Cipher by Peter Blake and Paul S. Blezard. (Pan, 2000, p. 9).
Figure 1: The trial of Giordano Bruno by the Roman Inquisition.
Bronze relief by Ettore Ferrari (1845-1929), Campo de' Fiori, Rome.
The answer is really very simple:
The doctrine espoused by the Church was the ‘Concentric’ or Geocentric view offered by Claudius Ptolemy (100–165? AD), that all heavenly bodies – including the Sun – revolved around the Earth.
The Earth was the centre of all creation; each body was fixed upon a series of rotating celestial spheres, and according to God’s plan, the Earth was perfectly stable, did not rotate and was therefore ‘upright’ and in every way we would use the term.
Figure 2: The Ptolemaic Cosmological System.
The Planets and Sun are shown moving around the Earth which is at the centre. The Universe is divided into eight concentric spherical shells – one for each of the seven planets and one for all the fixed stars.
The sphere of stars was seen to rotate daily around the motionless Earth.
Originally written in 2004. Updated in 2009, 2012 and 2013.
In terms of art, the Poussin era was the Baroque period, in-between the Rennaisance of the 16th century and the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ which had its inception in the late 17th century and came to fruition in the 18th.
The Baroque period reflects not only the religious tensions regarding Catholic vs. Protestant, but also a new and more expansive worldview - especially in terms of world exploration and the science that had developed during the Renaissance.
Poussin was a prolific artist. His work is said to be divided between two themes: scenes from the Biblical Scriptures and those featuring the pagan gods Pan and Apollo and the beautiful, idyllic landscapes associated with pagan mythology.
Although he is not as well-known as that other great artist Leonardo Da Vinci, for some readers the name ‘Poussin’ will sound familiar while others will not have heard of him at all, but still he remains a controversial figure in the pages of cryptohistory.
“The circle of learned men for whom Poussin painted regarded themselves in some ways as privileged persons, who had been initiated into mysteries unknown . . . incomprehensible to the vulgar”.
Anthony Blunt. Nicolas Poussin: The A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, (1958).