Creativity, community and ICT
Creativity, community and ICT

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Creativity, community and ICT

1.2 Influences on creativity

In the late 1630s, the poet John Milton travelled from England to Italy. While there he visited the astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei and observed the skies above Florence through the telescope through which Galileo was studying the moon and Saturn.

Figure 2

When viewed through even the crudest of telescopes, a galaxy is a stunning sight – a nucleus and a misty swirl of spiral arms, billions of stars caught in a whirlpool spanning hundreds of thousands of light years. Milton never forgot this experience, drawing on it in his poem Paradise Lost (1667). The poem is packed with images of the heavens, the stars and planets, and the sheer immensity of the universe: in the description of creation itself, God's pathway to heaven is:

A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,

And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear

Seen in the Galaxy, that Milky Way

Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest

Powdered with stars.

(Paradise Lost, Book vii, lines 577–81)

Over a hundred years later, Milton's poem was highly influential in Joseph Haydn's composition of his musical masterpiece, The Creation. A telescope also provided the inspiration for this work. Haydn's diary entry, written in England in 1792, gives an account of his visit to the home of William Herschel, also a musician and composer, and his sister Caroline. The Herschels were to become the greatest astronomical observers of the time.

On 15th June I went from Windsor to (Slough?) to Doctor Herschel where I saw the great telescope. It is 40 feet long and 5 feet in diameter. The machinery is very big, but so ingenious that a single man can put it in motion with the greatest ease. Sometimes he sits for 5 or 6 hours under the open sky in the bitterest cold weather.

This telescopic opening up of the universe made as unforgettable an impression on Haydn as it had on Milton so many years earlier. Biographers have suggested that Haydn stored away at the back of his mind some impression of the vastness of interstellar spaces, which fired his imagination as he later worked on his oratorio, The Creation. At its first performance, not even his chief patron had previewed the section where light is first described. Haydn himself was conducting. According to reports of the time, his eyes ‘flashed with fire’ at that point and the audience was left totally electrified.

Look at the following sequence of creative people and works of art: Einstein, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, William Blakes' etching Jerusalem. Think about what influenced their creativity and note your thoughts down in a notebook or on a flip chart.

This element is no longer supported and cannot be used.
Skip Your course resources
TL_ICT_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371