ARMILLARY SPHERE BY CASPAR VOPEL, COLOGNE, 1549
80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed
- Signed "CASPAR VOPELI MATHEMA PROF COLONIAE AGRIPPINAE SPHAERAM HANC FACIEBAT 1549."
A 4 inch (98 mm) diameter brass armillary sphere with central globe in wood, globe marked with circles for the tropics, equator, and ecliptic. Sphere consisting of thin brass bands with stamped inscriptions, solstitial & equinoctial colures (labelled COLVRVS SOLSTICIORVM and COLVRVS AEQUINOCTIORVM) meeting at the poles, solsticial stamped ZONA FRIGIDA near each pole, ZONA TEMPERATA between the poles and near the tropics, and between the tropics ZONA TORRIDA (winter half) and ANTOECI (summer half), equinoctial colures stamped CIRCVMVM PERISCII near each pole, HETEROSCII ALTERVM between each pole and tropics, and AMPH/ISCII twice between the tropics. Five parallel bands running perpendicular to colures representing the Arctic and Antarctic circles (stamped CIRCVLVS ARCTICVS and CIRCVLVS ANTARCTIVS), the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (stamped TROPICVS CANCRI and TROPICVS CAPRICORNI), and the equator (divided into 12 equal parts with the signs of the Zodiac named in Latin, and divided every 1°). Graduated ecliptic band tangential to the tropics (divided into 12 equal parts of 30° for each sign of the Zodiac, each section stamped with the Latin name and symbol of each sign, and embellished with stars and the figurative representation of each constellation, with three stars marked SPICA, ANTARES, and VRNA). Three rotating bands attached to the axis of the ecliptic, representing the orbit of Saturn (labelled SATVRNI SPHAERA PHOENON CELI SIGNIFERUM PERAGIT IN ANNIS 29 DIEBUS 162 ET HORIS 12......), the orbit of the Sun (labelled SOLIS SPHAERA. HELIOS TOTVM PERAGRAT ZODIACVM IN 365 DIEBVS...) and the orbit of the Moon (labelled PRIMA DEVM TERRAS GLACIALI SYDERE CIRCVM LVNA MEAT...)
Exhibited: La Mesure du Temps dans les Collections Belges (Exhibition catalogue, Société Générale de Banque, Brussels, 1984), no. 3, p. 31 There are only 10 recorded examples of Vopel's armillary spheres; London, Science Museum (1541); Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution (1541); Private Collection (1542); Copenhagen, National Museum (1543); Greenwich, National Maritime Museum (1543); Washington, D.C., Library of Congress (1543); Salzburg, Städt Museum (1544); Munich, Deutsches Museum (1545) ; London, Science Museum (1552)
Kugel, Alexis. Spheres. The Art of the Celestial Mechanic. 2002, A3.
VERY RARE 16TH CENTURY ARMILLARY SPHERE by Caspar Vopel, one of only ten recorded examples by him, with the earliest dating to 1541. All but two (including the present example) are in Museums. Vopel (1511-1529) was a professor of mathematics at the Montan Gymnasium in Cologne. His first recorded instrument was a painted celestial globe done in 1532, followed by a printed pair of globes (terrestrial and celestial) in 1536. While it seems that his favorite instrument was the armillary sphere, he also produced sundials, nocturnals, and an astrolabe. Several of Vopel's spheres, with the present examples included, are not mounted with a meridian or horizon ring, but rather, were designed to be hand-held and fixed with a handle.