June 10, 2017 at the Penn Museum Jay
A. Frogel, PhD: Photographer, World Images; Professor of
Astronomy, Emeritus at The Ohio State University; Consultant in
Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Space Sciences: "Maya Palaces in Ruins: Stephens’ and Catherwood’s
Presentation of the Past"
The writings of John Lloyd Stephens,
illustrated by Frederick Catherwood, had a profound effect
on public awareness and perception of the ancient Maya in the
19th century in the US, Europe, and Mexico. Why was this
and what made their work stand out from the other travelers who
illustrated the Maya ruins during that century? In this
presentation Dr. Frogel considered Frederick Catherwood as an artist and
visual promoter of the Maya; not only of the ruins of a vanished
civilization, but also of the Maya people he and Stephens
encountered in the course of their expeditions.
Catherwood’s illustrations are an invaluable guide to the
effects of the passage of time on the monuments he drew.
Finally, Dr. Frogel suggested that Catherwood should be
considered as an “abstract realist” artist, a la Andrew Wyeth,
and illustrated his arguments through a discussion of his
Stephens and Catherwood Photographic Project.
Frogel got his BA and PhD degrees in
astronomy from Harvard and Caltech, respectively. He
rejoined Harvard as a research Fellow and Lecturer, and then
became a tenured staff astronomer at the National Optical
Astronomy Observatories based in Tucson and in La Serena,
Chile. In 1988, he was appointed Professor of Astronomy at
The Ohio State University. When he left OSU he became Vice
President for Science at the DC corporate office of the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.
Since he stopped earning a living 6 years
ago, he has been able to devote much more time to his
photographic work. While living in Chile he had two solo
exhibits of his Cibachrome prints of the Chilean
landscape. These exhibits were sponsored by the
Universidad de Chile and the US embassy in Santiago. Since
2013 he has had five exhibits of digital prints from his
Stephens and Catherwood Project at several locations in the US
as well as giving talks on the project. Dr. Frogel’s photography
can be seen at: URL: http://www.jayfrogel.com.
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