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Perspectives Religion and Spirituality

Using the Astronomicum Caesareum Book

Oct 3, 2022 6 MINUTES
With its hand-colored illustrations, this splendid book is a feast for the eyes just to leaf through. But it was designed and marketed to meet a specific function: detailed instructions explained to privileged owners—amongst them Tudor King Henry VIII—on how to turn the paper dials according to dates and star signs, to create their own astrological charts and forecasts. Sixteenth-century royalty and scholars alike combined the desire for knowledge with the long-held belief that it could be gathered from the movement of the stars: from predicting one’s health to the weather and ideal moments of susceptibility—or conversely, obtuseness—the heavens provided meaning and guidance in an unstable world.

Featured Artwork: The Astronomicum Caesareum, written by Petrus Apianus (1495–1552), illustrated by Michael Ostendorfer (ca. 1490–1549), Ingolstadt, 1540. Printed text on paper with hand-colored woodcut illustrations, 17 7/8 x 12 11/16 in. (45.4 x 32.3 cm.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Herbert N. Straus, 1925 (25.17)

Director: Kate Farrell
Producer: Bryan Martin
Writers: Ana Matisse Donefer-Hickie, Angelina Ding, and Bryan Martin
Video Editor: Angelina Ding
Camera: Kelly Richardson
Gaffer: Josh Schneiderman
Gaffer Assistant: Jonathan Meija
Production Coordinators: Lela Jenkins, Aurola Wedman Alfaro
Narration: Ana Matisse Donefer-Hickie
Music: Austin Fisher
Post Production Sound: David Raymond
Paper Conservation Conservator: Yana van Dyke
General Manager of Collections: Denny Stone
Thanks to: Elizabeth Cleland, Adam Eaker, Melissa Bell, and Mandy Kritzeck

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