Antonio Petruccelli (1) The Solar Furnace

Antonio Petruccelli (1) The Solar Furnace

Antonio Petruccelli - Sun Cutaway

I recently picked up some semi-vintage Scientific/Natural History Books that belonged to my late uncle, loads of superb stuff that I’ll be posting over the course of the rest of the year…

Onto the first scan then – this amazing image is taken from the 1970 edition of the Time-Life International book “The Universe” and is by an artist I’d not come across before, Italian American Antonio Petruccelli (1907-1994) born in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Alas I’ve had to crop this as the painting covers the spread, it really has to be seen to be believed the colours are something else, and I’ve done my best to keep them intact here….

A snippet from the Illustrations accompanying text: “A Close look at the Solar Furnace”

The Sun’s vast sphere, 864,000 miles in diameter contains 335 billion cubic miles of violently hot gasses that weigh more than 2,000 quadrillion tons. Direct study can probe no deeper than the sun’s double atmosphere (the tenuous outer corona and the shallow, inner chromosphere) and it’s surface skin (the photosphere), because only the energy from these two zones reaches the earth after a 93-million mile journey  in the form of visible light or invisible radiation. Yet the density, temperature and composistion of gasses in the suns’s hidden interior have been calculated, and astrophysicists know the nuclear processes that make them burn…

Antonio Petruccelli was an extremely versatile Illustrator, a very capable space artist just one of his attributes – read a bit more about him at

4 thoughts on “Antonio Petruccelli (1) The Solar Furnace”

  1. I found this blog a few days ago and I’ve been enjoying the images and information here and now this posting with your promise of more is bringing back memories from my middle school and high school years. Oh those wonderful days when the space program still held the promise of the future!

    While I enjoy paintings and drawings in general, three artists influenced my appreciation of space and astronomical art during that period – Chesley Bonestell, Robert McCall and Ludek Pesek. I’m glad to see a few examples of Bonestell’s work here and and I hope you’ll be posting examples of McCall’s and Pesek’s work.

    If anyone reading this is not familiar with the work of Robert McCall, well, just google 2001 A Space Odyssey Poster. Or you can check out his clunky website here

    I’ve enjoyed Ludek Pesek’s work since the first time I saw a few paintings in an issue of National Geographic. Later (sometime during the 80s) I had the unexpected pleasure of viewing a small collection of the actual paintings. Fantastic! His website can be found at

    Now I’ll get back to exploring the art here and where ever else I can find it.

  2. Hey Mike,

    many thanks for your comments and the links there… I wasn’t aware of the work of Robert McCall or Ludek Pesek! shame both websites are little old hat – and the images small, I will endeavor to find some better quality pics from both artists! and post soon…

    once again, thanks for the lead…

    this sites has some great space art – alas a little small

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