Interesting mural on L’Église Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Belgentier, South of France. The mural depicts the passage of Louis XIV on his way to Cotignac Abbey. The catholic church was rebuilt in 1616 at the site of a previous 12th-century chapel.
The part that interested me the most was this chap below, seemingly out of place, hidden down the side of the church with sombre clothing, scroll in hand and a telescope nearby. It is likely to be a depiction of Nicolas Claude Fabri de Pieresc who has history in the town. Born into an influential family, he later became a writer, antiquarian and astronomer.
There is a lunar crater named after him Peirescius (61km diameter) and an asteroid 19226 Peiresc (13km diameter). The Orion nebula’s diffuse nebulous nature was first discovered and studied in detail by him on 26th November 1610. He assisted his pal Galileo in mapping the movements of the moons of Jupiter.
The Roman Catholic scientist-cleric travelled and fostered a lot of well-placed contacts allowing him to amass a lot of literary, art and cultural items, as well as live and dead animals (such as elephants and the now-extinct Nubian gazelle amongst others) as well as exotic botanical specimens which he exposed at his home in Aix. The Turkish Angora cat’s presence in France is attributed to his efforts of exporting animals from their natural homes.
He mysteriously acquired Byzantine Barberini ivory, now on display at the Louvre in Paris, as well as ancient Codex Luxemburgensis depicting chronological calendrical texts before 354 AD, that disappeared after his death. He owned over 18,000 coins and medals and was an avid historian, geographer, physiologist and Egyptologist.
Even if I personally think he may well have contributed to the dissimulation of truth and development of religious lies for political gains, theft of worldly artefacts and wildlife, as well as being an active Freemason. I am yet to find any definitive testimony to this (obviously). He is generally depicted as a noble savant, and even received the accolade of “Prince of the Republic of Letters”.