VERMEER’S LIFE & ART:
Perhaps Vermeer signs and dates The Astronomer 1668. The dating of The Astronomer is considered to have been added later on by another hand. The only other dated painting by Vermeer is the early “The Procuress.” Some scholars believe that Delft citizen Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who was by then internationally recognized for his studies in optics and scientific observations, posed for The Astronomer, although portraits of Leeuwenhoek bear little resemblance to the seated man in Vermeer’s picture.
SCIENCE & PHILOSOPHY:
Robert Hooke: “Discourse on Earthquakes”.
Newton invents the reflecting telescope, building the first telescope based on a mirror (reflector) instead of a lens (refractor).
First accurate description of red corpuscles by Anthony van Leeuwenhoek. Leeuwenhoek was born in the same year as Delft and is often associated to the artist for their interest in optics.