Thursday, April 13, 2006

Planetary Arts

[click images for larger versions]

As far as I can deduce, this early 15th century latin/german manuscript is an attempt to symbolically combine or portray astrology/astronomy, teaching and religion. There are only 15 pages and it's worthwhile having a look at them all at the University of Salzburg website (thumbnail page). It's essentially divided into 2 sets of 7 illustrated subjects with a final page that is something of a conclusion or summary. The red writing was likely added later.

The top 2 images above are from the first half of the set and each human figure in the top circle represents one of the 7 planets (which included the sun and moon but not earth). I think the symbols at the side are the predominating astrological forces and the figures below reflect a human age eg. childhood, adulthood etc; which are themselves symbolic of a time of day.

The next 2 images above are from the 2nd set and each represent one of the liberal arts subjects (personified by the female figure) of rhetoric, grammar or astronomy for instance; which are also each aligned with one of the great exponents from history such as Cicero or Euclid etc. The head of Christ is seen in the 2nd last image with a reference to Sacra Theologia or Sacred Doctrine.

The concentric circles in the final image represent the planetary orbits and the brief commentary mentions they also signify chemical elements. Earth is at the centre of the 'universe' and Albertus Magnus is seated below. (Magnus was a 13th century philosopher who was an advocate for a peaceful coexistence between religion and science).

Interesting stuff. If anyone can elaborate or correct anything I'm misunderstanding, please go right ahead.


Rikki said...

These are awesome

caffeinekick said...

they are mindblowing! just one will have to wear a helmet
where did you come upon these pictures
beautiful beautiful

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