How a fake Kepler portrait became iconic: https://arxiv.org/abs/2108.02213
Steven N. Shore, Václav Pavlík
For several decades a portrait of Johannes Kepler has been widely circulating among professional astronomers, scientific and academic institutions, and the general public. Despite its provenance and identification having been questioned in the early part of the last century, this painting has reached iconic status. We review its history from its first mention in the literature in the 1870s to a published but virtually unknown judgment of competent art experts of the 1920s that the work is in fact an early nineteenth century forgery. We display the painting in context with other more secure portraits and suggest that if it is based on anything, the painting may derive from the well known portrait from life of Michael Mästlin. This correction takes on certain urgency since 2021 is the 450th anniversary of Kepler's birth.
Comments: To appear in an edited form in Readers' Forum, Physics Today (September 2021)