Van Loon’s personal symbol was the troubadour, the lonely traveling musician. Van Loon drew several pictures of notable individuals from history, and depicted them as isolated and alone, brooding and self-reflective. We see Moses staring from afar at the Promised Land he will never reach, Dante as a wanderer who has lost his way (as in the beginning of The Inferno). Van Loon draws Giuseppe Mazzini, the Italian nationalist, alone in a prison cell (where he admittedly spent much time as a political prisoner) , and Galileo not with his telescopes and experiments but wandering inside a church, his life spent under the watchful gaze of ecclesiastical authorities, the church itself represented as a kind of prison for Galileo.

"The Troubadour," p. 442

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