This is an historic painting of one of the earliest spaceship launches. Rembrandt has exquisitely captured the drama of the event. The glow from a rocket test illuminates this pre-dawn scene as various launch personnel make a variety of final safety checks.
Primitive spacecraft were built in the shape of a cross for aerodynamic reasons. Note the thin, light brushwork on the astronaut and his ship. This was done to conserve weight. Too much paint here would have doomed the mission to failure. The pilot has been nailed to the ship as a safety precaution to prevent him from slipping off due to the high acceleration encountered during takeoff.
The launch crew is shown here, adjusting the angle of the ship to ensure that the proper orbit is achieved. Onlookers have gathered to witness the spectacle.
Off he'll go! Ascending into the heavens! What a glorious sight it must have been!
-- Sister Randy