The armillary spheres: a difficult but interesting case


Italy: which century?

Un examen récent par Elly Dekker tendrait à démontrer que la sphère armillaire pourrait être du XXe siècle parce qu'elle mélange des caractéristiques ptoloméennes et coperniciennes. Ce qui confirme notre perception que plusieurs caractéristiques de cet objet participent de l'art populaire ou primitif du XXe siècle.

Antonio Santucci della Pomarance, a mathematical instrument maker, worked for over a decade fashioning this enormous gilt armillary sphere of three meters, built in wood and finished in 1593 for the archiduke of Florence. It is displayed at the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence.

The construction of the sphere took into account the nativity of both the duke and his wife. As a patronage device the sphere won for Santucci the privilege of being the ducal cosmographer.

Sfera armillare copernicana c. 1726. Autore ignoto. Legno e cartone dorato. Diametro 80 cm. Università di Bologna, Museo della Specola, MdS-106.

The sphere in Bologna Astronomical Museum has the name of its builder, together with place and date of construction, engraved on the arctic polar ring: Dominicus Lusverg f[ecit] Romae 1744. In relief on the black wooden base is the coat-of-arms of Pope Benedict XIV, in the world the Bolognese Prospero Lambertini.

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