Albrecht Dürer, [Armillary Sphere] woodcut published in the first Servetus edition of Ptolemy’s Geographiae , Lyons France, 1535. (Kurth 333). (Paper: 400 x 277mm – 15 ¾ x 10 7/8’’ Image: 320mm x 255mm – 12 ½ x 10 ¼’’)
This exceptional and important woodcut depicts the globe surrounded by seven circles and twelve wind gods. It is based on an armillary sphere, an astronomical device that shows the circles of the celestial sphere surrounding the Earth. These include the North & South Pole, the Equator & the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer.
From the 1535 Ptolemaic Atlas edited by Michael Servetus. Servetus (c. 1511-53) was a Spanish physician & theologian whose unorthodox teachings led to condemna-tion as a heretic by both Protestants and Roman Catholics. In 1553 he was burned at the stake in Geneva by order of John Calvin, who insisted that copies of the 1535 atlas be burned with him.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) renowned German artist with skillful use of perspective and mathematical proportions. One of the outstanding artistic figures of the early 16th century.
Ref: Dr Willi Kurth, The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Durer (#333), "Dürer’s authorship is proved by two letters of the mathematician & architect of Karl V, Johann Tschert (cf, ill. 322), who plainly mentions Dürer’s name as the designer of the Armillary Sphere (cf. Passavant III, p. 190)". It first appeared in the 1525 edition of Fries’ edition of Ptolemy; this example is the second issue.