or how do I paint complicated relationships in primary colors?
For my submission in our collective effort towards a children’s book about Galileo I plan to write about the circumstances surrounding his fourth trip to Rome in 1624.
This time period serves as a distinct turning point in Galileo’s life as the people who are most familiar with his history with the Catholic Church, at home and in Rome, have died (Grand Duke Cosimo II, Pope Paul V and Cardinal Bellarmine). This leads to the eventual election of Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VIII in 1623.
Galileo and Pope Urban VIII have a 13 year long mutual admiration since they both are from Florence and Galileo helped Urban’s son, who would become a Cardinal and the right hand man to the Pope, get his doctorate from the University of Pisa.
I think this period is an important one to explore since it can at least point and grunt at the nuanced political climate and complicated relationships that surrounded the entire Galileo affair. I’m certain it will raise many more questions than it answers, but I think questions are better than painting a simple black and white picture of Science vs. Religion as it has been portrayed in the past. I also think it is important to show that the Pope actually agreed with some of Galileo’s thinking on the exploration of nature, just not where the interpretation of Scripture came into question. It will be challenging to distill this concept into something that can stand alone as a part of the whole, but it’s important to get the idea across that assigning historical blame is easier than understanding complicated relationships in context and viewing them through the lens of balanced truth.