Imagines coeli Septentrionales cum duodecim imaginibus zodiaci

Description

Dürer’s detailed monochrome, woodcut star chart of the northern sky is one of a pair, the other being of the southern hemisphere.

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Dürer’s detailed monochrome, woodcut star chart of the northern sky is one of a pair, the other being of the southern hemisphere. Together they are the first printed celestial maps, although information on the location and magnitude of the stars depicted is taken from the four earlier astronomers illustrated in the corners: Aratus the Cilician, Ptolemy the Egyptian, Azophi the Arab and M. Manilius the Roman.

Following classical tradition, the constellations are positioned as if seen from above. This means that they are seen mainly in rear view as they proceed anti-clockwise around the ecliptic (the path of the sun across the sky). The heroic figures of Boötes, Hercules, Ophiuchus the Serpent-holder and Perseus, with the head of the Gorgon, crowd together in the centre. Andromeda is dressed in only her chains. The Milky Way stretches from Sagittarius at lower right to Gemini at upper left.

The beauty of this exceptional star chart and the fact that the mythological figures are portrayed with their correct attributes prompted subsequent map and globe makers to follow Dürer’s bold pictorial style with its attention to scholarly detail.

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Dated

From 1510 (circa) to 1520 (circa)

Further details »

Materials

» paper (fibre product)

Technique

» woodcut (process)

Production place

» Nuremberg, Germany

Collection

» Dallas Pratt Collection of Historical Maps

Dimensions

424x425mm

Object number

1988.182

See more on the web:

» Europeana
» Google images

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