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Decorative Arts, Armillary Sphere, Coronelli Style, Italian, 20th Century (Sold)
Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere
Italian: 2nd Half 20th Century
Pasteboard with printed paper
17.25 inches high; 10 inch diameter sphere
A decorative Ptolemaic armillary sphere, of traditional form, having pasteboard meridian with applied printed paper calibrations, surrounding a brass internal rotating spherical armillary ring structure comprised of polar circles, tropical circles (Capricorn and Cancer), and a planar zodiac band with applied printed paper signs of the zodiac. In the center of the ring structure is a baroque style earth globe with printed paper gores. It is raised on a wooden stand with shaped support of turned central standard and domed base. Italian globes and armillary spheres of this type are sometimes referred to as “Coronelli” after the Italian globemaker Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650– 1718), though they do not represent any globes Coronelli actually made other than generally to be of a Baroque style.
Demonstrational armillary spheres were commonly produced in England, France and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries to show various basic principles of astronomy, and continued to be manufactured in the 20th century. An armillary sphere with the earth at the center is known as Ptolemaic, and an armillary sphere with the sun at the center is known as Copernican. Ptolemy (2nd Century A.D), an Alexandrian astronomer believed that the earth was at the center of the universe. Ptolemaic armillary spheres were produced in Islamist countries, reaching advanced levels as early as the 10th century. Notwithstanding that Ptolemaic armillaries have a globe in the center (rather than the sun), they were created to show modern principles of astronomy including the ecliptic plane of the earth and how that relates to the apparent path of the sun and the visibility of various constellations in the zodiac throughout the year.