Pierre Gassendi’s Study

Pierre Gassendi


In 1592, it was extremely improbable that a son of a small farmer born in Champtercier would become a leading humanist and scientist. His prodigious career was made possible by the excellence of his individual talents and gifts. Despite the studies and books on his subject for more than centuries, Pierre Gassendi is a man whose life and work are not well-known, because all his writings were in Latin to avoid censorship. This learned humanist developed an empiricist philosophy encompassing history, archaeology, the arts, natural sciences and mathematics. His critique of Aristotelianism led him to re-examine Epicure’s atomist philosophy, as a result of which he was in conflict with Descartes for a time.

Throughout his life, Gassendi shared his time between Provence and Paris, the centre of a stimulating society of learned people and intellectuals. Gassendi never owned his own home. In Paris and on his journeys, he stayed with is protectors and friends, such as Nicolas Claude Fabri de Peiresc in Aix, making use of his books and collections gathered together in a very famous cabinet of curiosities, and his network of contacts.

In Digne, he was provost of Notre-Dame du Bourg cathedral, and he performed numerous astronomical observations. The philosopher and astronomer died in 1655 in Paris, where he was then chair of mathematics of the Collège Royal.

You can sit at the table of Pierre Gassendi, to listen to the talk given by the philosopher Michel Onfray on his subject in 2005.

Note Pièce supplémentaire n°23, Dominique Angel, 2007, which is also present in Gassendi’s study. This video depicts the artist as a joker.

More Info about Gassendi : (only french available)

Pierre Gassendi