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Re: VMs: Art and astronomy

Hi Jeff,
Your site selected hereafter is really interesting to me. Here is a series of excerpts and I add a few comments:
"As in many astronomical and astrological publications from the 16th- and 17th century, the Harmonia Macrocosmica of Andreas Cellarius is embellished with an elaborate frontispiece depicting famous astronomers of the past."

"Standing in the background at the left is the Greek astronomer Claudius 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. "

"Though he has tentatively been identified with the Islamic astronomer al-Battani (? 929), as he is also present on the Lansbergen frontispiece, the lack of distinctive Middle Eastern features suggests that he must be identified with someone else. Perhaps even, in style with Lansbergen?s frontispiece or that of Kepler?s Tabulae Rudolphinae (1627), with the author himself. Unfortunately, this hypothesis cannot be verified as no portrait of Andreas Cellarius is known to exist."


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.




Jeff <jeff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ashworth Jr., W.B., "Allegorical Astronomy: Baroque Scientists encoded their
most Dangerous Opinions in Art", The Sciences, 25, nr. 5 (1985), 34-37.

Found here:



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