The Moon - Art, Science and Culture

What do the German Romantics, Palaeolithic cave paintings and Apollo 11 all have in common?

Anyone who has ever read “The Moon - Art, Science and Culture”, by Dr. Alexander Loske and Dr. Robert Massey will be able to tell you: it’s the moon!

Doctor Alexander Loske is well known in Brighton & Hove as a curator at the Royal Pavilion, arguably our most iconic visitor attraction.

Look further afield and it becomes apparent that she’s known to a much wider audience as a writer, lecturer and distinguished expert who is in demand not only as a historian, but in other diverse disciplines, for Dr. Loske sees no division between Art and Science, “They just…overlap”, she says, gesturing with her hands.

Born in Germany on the night of the Apollo moon landings, the young Alex felt a curiosity about the moon which became a focus for her studies as she grew older.

Thus her English Literature studies found her specializing in the Romantics, where the moon, with all its tropes, was a popular thread with the poets of the Romantic movement, the painters of the German Romantic Art Movement and in England, of Turner and Constable.

While she produced her first ‘moon’ publication “Pale Fire, New Writing on the Moon” on her own, her collaboration with astrophysicist Dr. Robert Massey on “Moon” was another instance of the ‘overlap’ between Science and Art.

When Dr. Loske first came to England she was shortly followed by her best friend from Germany Jenny Gaschke, who came to work at the Maritime Museum. It was there that Jenny met Dr. Massey and, through this relationship, that he and Dr. Loske first 'overlapped'.

Dr Robert Massey is the Deputy Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society. Before joining them his expertise in his field had earned him an appointment as Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. His unstinting commitment to making the case for astronomy to more mainstream audiences.

The decision to collaborate, given Dr. Loske’s long-held fascination with the moon, and Dr. Massey’s expertise in the area, would seem to have been inevitable.

In the autumn of 2019, the Town House was delighted to showcase the fruits of their collaboration, as Alex and Robert donated their time to present a lively explanation of their book. Their infectious enthusiasm spilled out the most surprising and enlightening facts in an entertaining manner: never dry, never boring!

Our thanks go to both speakers for their generosity.