October 7, 2017
Robert McCall (b.1929), One Giant Step (The Apollo Story 5/7), 1973, lithograph, 22 1/2 x 30 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Bryon C. Butler.
On this day in 1959, the Soviet Union’s Luna 3 probe transmitted the first existing images of the far side of the moon. This was the first of many forays to the moon, with the Apollo 11 manned space shuttle successfully reaching its surface in 1969.
Robert McCall’s print is part five of a seven-part lithographic series depicting the first moon landing, commanded by Neil Armstrong and piloted by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. The artist commemorates the momentous occasion with an image of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong standing in the immediate foreground, the lunar surface reflected on his face mask. Directly behind him is the American flag, a triumphant symbol of America as the first nation to put a man on the moon. In the background is a small spacecraft and the Earth looming in shadow against a starry sky, reminding the viewer how far the astronauts have come—both in distance and technological prowess.