Celestial globe with clockwork

Maker: Gerhard Emmoser (German, active 1556–84)

Date: 1579

Culture: Austrian, Vienna

Medium: Case: partly gilded silver and gilded brass; Movement: brass and steel

Dimensions: Overall: 10 3/4 × 8 × 7 1/2 in. (27.3 × 20.3 × 19.1 cm); Diameter of globe: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Silver In Combination

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.636


This richly ornamented clockwork-driven globe combines luxury and complexity, making it a worthy addition to a princely collection. Made for the famed Kunstkammer (art room) of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, the globe originally rotated, powered by an internal movement, and an image of the sun moved along the path of the ecliptic. Use of the mythological winged Pegasus to support the celestial sphere conveys a Renaissance idea that “the wings of the human mind” support the science of astronomy.