"Standing in the background at the left is the Greek astronomerClaudius Ptolemy (fl. A.D. 150), clad in a royal mantle and pointing to a passage in an opened book (the Almagest). "
"Thus far unidentified remains the person in the background standing behind Urania and apparently waving his hand to the viewer. He is the only person who, except for a closed book in his left hand, does not seem to have a distinctive feature that can identify him. "
A bit long, sorry, now comments:
. the open book traditionally is the one you can straightforward read ( plaintext, exoterica ),
. the closed book then is of course the contrary ( code or cipher, esoterica...).
This could suggest that there is something hidden is the work the frontispice is announcing.
At that time however the Ptolemaic view ( exoterica?) was already openly disputed by the say Galilean one (esoterica?) ...I think there is one point here.
I am too interested in the fact that "your" Cellarius seems to have been connected to Brahe or Kepler, and left no portrait known; he is seemingly an anonymous scientist, and since he was born German and died Dutch, wrote on Poland - and Lithuana ! - is possibly, even if he was of lower extraction a noble wanderer. But I did not see an evidence of any direct link to VMS.
That s all at the moment, folk.
Ashworth Jr., W.B., "Allegorical Astronomy: Baroque Scientists encoded their
most Dangerous Opinions in Art", The Sciences, 25, nr. 5 (1985), 34-37.
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