- Museum number
The Celestial Globe, depicting the northern hemisphere with the position of the stars for the period c.1499-1500, arranged within a circle and surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, in the four corners representations of the astronomers Aratus Cilix, Ptolomeus Aegyptius, M. Manlius Romanus, Azophi Arabus, the constellations and astronomers labelled with inscriptions, above one line title inscription. c.1515
- Production date
Height: 455 millimetres (including title)
Height: 430 millimetres (without title)
Width: 430 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The Latin title is: 'Imagines coeli Septentrionales cum duodecim imaginibus zodiaci'
This and the companion print of the southern hemisphere were commissioned by Johann Stabius, both based on earlier maps which had been prepared by Sebastian Sprenz and Conrad Heinfogel of Nuremberg.
The woodblock is in Berlin.
See: G.Bartrum, 'German Renaissance Prints', BM exh.cat. 1995, no. 36; 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy', BM exh.cat. 2002, no.138; M. McDonald, Columbus touring exhibition, 2004, no. 45
Entry from 'Dürer and his Legacy' cat.:
'With its companion, The Celestial Globe: Southern Hemisphere, 1515 (Hollstein 259) this print was commissioned in 1515 by Johannes Stabius (d.1522) the court historian, astronomer and mathematician to emperor Maximilian. They were dedicated to Cardinal Lang von Wellenburg (1468 - 1540) a leading diplomat and chief counsellor to Maximilian. Dürer's maps play an important role in the history of the Arabic and classical tradition of celestial maps, for they are the first of their kind to be printed in the West. Their design is not, however, particularly original; they are based on two maps drawn on vellum in Nuremberg in 1503 (Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; see Nuremberg 1971, nos. 307-8) which show the position of the stars, numbered according to the eighth and ninth books of Ptolemy's Almagest, for the year 1424, with the signs of the zodiac surrounding the map of the northern hemisphere. Dürer 's maps update the positions of the stars to the period c.1499-1500, and his representations of four early astronomers, Aratus Cilix, Ptolomeus Aegyptius, M. Manlius Romanus and Azophi Arabus in the corners of the map replace images of planets on the 1503 drawing. An inscription on the Southern Hemisphere shows that, as with the earlier drawing, the astronomer Conrad Heinfogel
participated in the project. Dürer's interest in astronomy must also have been stimulated by the presence of an observatory at his home in the Zisselgasse. The house had formerly belonged to the most important astronomer of his generation, Regiomontanus (1436-1476) and then to the latter's pupil, Bernhard Walther, from whose estate Dürer acquired it in 1509.'
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1971 BM, Dürer, no.210
1977 London, BM, Animals in Art
1995 Jun-Oct, BM, 'German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550', no.36
2004 Jun-Jul, Madrid, 'LaCaixa', Ferdinand Columbus
2004 Oct-Dec, Seville, Salon Alto del Apeadero, Ferdinand Columbus
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number