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The Astronomicum Caesareum (1540) by the German mathematician, astronomer and cartographer Petrus Apianus was used by the privileged – including the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, who commissioned it, and the Tudor king Henry VIII – to find guidance, knowledge and fate in the stars. Produced over eight years at Apianus’s printing press in Bavaria, it was also extraordinarily beautiful, with hand-coloured illustrations, rotating paper dials and silk threads helping to steer its owner’s astrological forecast. Taking viewers on a guided tour of one of the original copies of the Astronomicum Caesareum, this short from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City explores the book’s elegance, intricacy and function. Through this, the video conveys the prevalence of astrology in the 16th century, and how the book emerged in an uncertain world in which long-held beliefs – including geocentrism – were being upended.
Video by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Director: Kate Farrell
Producer: Bryan Martin
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