Charles William Mitchell | Hypatia of Alexandria, 1885

Charles William Mitchell (1854-1903) was an British🎨 Pre-Raphaelite painter from Newcastle.
A contemporary of John William Waterhouse🎨, his work is similar in many ways.
His one famous piece was Hypatia, shown in 1885 and likely inspired by the Charles Kingsley serialized novel Hypatia, or New Foes with an Old Face. This painting is currently in the Laing Art Gallery.

Charles William Mitchell - Hypatia, 1885

Raphael🎨 | Hypatia in "The School of Athens", 1509-1511

Hypatia[a] (born c. 350-370; died 415 AD) was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy.
She is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded.
Hypatia was renowned in her own lifetime as a great teacher and a wise counselor. She is known to have written a commentary on Diophantus's thirteen-volume Arithmetica, which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus's original text, and another commentary on Apollonius of Perga's treatise on conic sections, which has not survived.
Many modern scholars also believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy's Almagest, based on the title of her father Theon's commentary on Book III of the Almagest.
Hypatia is known to have constructed astrolabes and hydrometers, but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born. Although she herself was a pagan, she was tolerant towards Christians and taught many Christian students, including Synesius, the future bishop of Ptolemais.

Raphael🎨 | The School of Athens, 1509-1511
Raphael | Hypatia in "The School of Athens", 1509-1511 (detail)

Ancient sources record that Hypatia was widely beloved by pagans and Christians alike and that she established great influence with the political elite in Alexandria.
Towards the end of her life, Hypatia advised Orestes, the Roman prefect of Alexandria, who was in the midst of a political feud with Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. Rumors spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril and, in March 415 AD, she was murdered by a mob of Christians led by a lector named Peter.
Hypatia's death shocked the empire and transformed her into a "martyr for philosophy", leading future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to become increasingly fervent in their opposition to Christianity.
During the Middle Ages, Hypatia was co-opted as a symbol of Christian virtue and scholars believe she was part of the basis for the legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
During the Age of Enlightenment, she became a symbol of opposition to Catholicism.
In the nineteenth century, European literature, especially Charles Kingsley's 1853 novel Hypatia, romanticized her as "the last of the Hellenes".
In the twentieth century, Hypatia became seen as an icon for women's rights and a precursor to the feminist movement. Since the late twentieth century, some portrayals have associated Hypatia's death with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, despite the historical fact that the library no longer existed during Hypatia's lifetime. | © Wikipedia

 Raphael | Hypatia in "The School of Athens", 1509-1511 (detail)
Raphael | Hypatia in "The School of Athens", 1509-1511 (detail)

Ipàzia di Alessandria (in greco antico Ὑπατία, traslitterato in Hypatìa, in latino: Hypatia; Alessandria d'Egitto, 355/370-marzo 415), e' la prima donna scienziato di cui si ha notizia, visse nel IV secolo (370-415 d.C.) e si dedicò soprattutto all'algebra e alla geometria.
Figlia dell’astronomo e matematico Teosone (detto anche Teone) e moglie del filosofo Isodoro, fu filosofa, matematica e astronoma e fu un’ardente cultrice della cultura classica.
Inventò un aerometro, un astrolabio piatto, un idroscopio.
Per istigazione del Vescovo Cirillo venne assalita mentre tornava a casa da una torma di monaci guidati da un “lettore”, Pietro linciata e fatta a pezzi con cocci o conchiglie. I suoi resti furono dati alle fiamme in un immondezzaio, il Cinerone.


Charles William Mitchell (1854-1903) è stato un pittore inglese Preraffaellita.
Il suo stile pittorico si avvicina a quello del contemporaneo John William Waterhouse, il maggior esponente della fase più tarda dell'esperienza preraffaelita, con cui Mitchell dimostra affinità anche nella scelta dei soggetti.
Il suo dipinto più noto è Hypatia del 1885 che raffigura la filosofa greca e pagana Ipazia (IV-V secolo) nuda di fronte all'altare di una chiesa cristiana nei momenti che precedono il suo assassinio.
La scena raffigurata da Mitchell è probabilmente ispirata al feuilleton di Charles Kingsley, Hypatia or New Foes with an Old Face (Ipazia o Nuovi nemici dal vecchio volto, 1853). Il dipinto è attualmente conservato alla Laing Art Gallery di Newcastle upon Tyne.

Charles William Mitchell - Hypatia, brutally murdered by a mob of monks inside a church, 1885 (detail)
Charles William Mitchell - Hypatia, 1885 (detail)

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