Globe and Banjo

Jean Metzinger Catalogue Raisonné

Number: AM-30-001 Jean Metzinger

Date: 1930

Title: Globe and Banjo (Armillary sphere and Lute)

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 65 x 92 cm

Collection: Art Institute of Chicago

Inscriptions: Signed (lower center-right)

Provenance: International Galleries, Chicago (by 1964) 

Albert A. Robin (1912–2007), Chicago (acquire from the above)

Gift of Albert Robin to the Art Institute of Chicago, 2005.

Exhibitions: Pre-Cubist and Cubist Works, 1900-1930, International Galleries, Chicago, 17 April – 10 May 1964, no. 20, pp. 31 and 32, reproduced.

Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, 31 August – 13 October 1985; The Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas, Austin, 10 November – 22 December 1985; The David and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago, 23 January – 9 March 1986; Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, 29 March – 25 May 1986, catalogue no. 241, p. 125, reproduced.

Notes: The armillary sphere represented here by Metzinger is a model of objects in the celestial sphere, consisting of a spherical framework of rings centered on Earth that represent lines of celestial latitude, longitude and other astronomical features such as the ecliptic. It differs from a celestial globe, which is a smooth sphere, used to map constellations. Historically, armillary spheres were among the first complex mechanical devices; their development led to improvements in techniques and design of all mechanical devices. Renaissance scientists often had their portraits painted with one hand on an armillary sphere, which represented the height of wisdom and knowledge.

From the Medieval to the late Baroque eras the lute was used in a great variety of instrumental music and was perhaps the most important instrument for secular music during the Renaissance.

Metzinger’s reference to the Renaissance (through the armillary sphere and lute) can be viewed as an homage, not solely to the artists of that period but to natural philosophers alike.

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