The same year that Albrecht Dürer created his famous rhinoceros woodcut, the German artist also collaborated on the first star charts printed in Europe. The 1515 maps of constellations from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres combined the scientific knowledge of the stars with Dürer’s illustrations.
Two of these woodcut maps are currently on view in The Nuremberg Sky: Dürer Star Maps of 1515 at Albrecht Dürer’s House, part of the Nuremberg Municipal Museums. The exhibition is in collaboration with the Nürnberger Astronomischen Gesellschaft (Nuremberg Astronomical Society), marking the 500th anniversary of the charts. In 2011, when another copy was auctioned by Sotheby’s, the Guardian reported that only 10 examples of the 1515 maps survive.
Even five centuries later, a modern viewer could pick out constellations from the sky based on the maps. Dürer created the charts with the cartographer and mathematician Johnannes Stabius, based on work by astronomer Conrad Heinfogel. The 48 constellations named by Ptolemy in the 2nd century appear, as do the 12 Zodiac signs. Some constellations, however, are obsolete, like Argo Navis, the Greek ship of Jason and the Argonauts plowing through the Southern Hemisphere. Most of the Southern Hemisphere is empty, as it hadn’t yet been plotted by Europeans.
Throughout his career, Dürer was interested in the mass production and commercial possibilities of the developing publishing industry, recognizing it as a way to raise his profile while simultaneously disseminating information to a wider audience. Prior to 1515, all the European star charts were hand drawn. He wasn’t the first in the world to print a star chart — astronomer Su Song’s Xin yixiang fayao was printed in China in 1090. Yet Dürer was the first to combine the existing knowledge with captivating visualizations that would endure on star charts to the 19th century. And on the Northern Hemisphere chart, he calls out the great ancient astronomers and astrologers who paved the way, with Ptolemy, the Greek Aratus, the Persian Al-Sufi, and the Roman Marcus Manilius all considering and measuring celestial globes in its four corners.
The Nuremberg Sky: Dürer Star Maps of 1515 continues at Albrecht Dürer’s House (Albrecht-Dürer-Straße 39, Nuremberg, Germany) through December 20.
As museums readily draft land acknowledgments, they should also be ready to leverage their presence and power on the land to meet the needs of their neighbors today.
Decades later, a letter written by the group has resulted in a permanent exhibition at Bosque Redondo Memorial in New Mexico.
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Assembly Required suggests it is high time to strap on a colorful mask and play with someone you don’t know — or don’t know well enough.
The pet home is on view at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Wright’s largest public project.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language, is “the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America.
A childhood accident took her arms away but the transgender artist survived to create paintings, photography, and performances focused on depicting the body.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
Fans of director Claire Denis should check the film out, but as an agnostic, I find it one of her few truly awful pictures.
There are 30 nations represented in the international exhibition. Some aren’t in their best moment today. A comics diary.
Some have compared her album art to John Collier’s 19th-century portrait of Lady Godiva, but Beyoncé can channel her radical spirit without evoking Western art history.