Ptolemy Ptolémée


2nd Century A.D. - IIe siècle après J.C.

Iconography of Ptolemy's Portrait
Iconographie du portrait de Ptolémée

1690 Hevelius

Detail of Ptolemy ? on frontispiece of Hevelius Celestial Atlas, 1690.


Frontispice de l'Atlas céleste de Hevelius, 1690.


Collaboration from Anna Felicity FRIEDMAN

19 January 2001

I can provide two additional Ptolemy portraits from the works of Hevelius in addition to the one you already have on your site (and I can provide a much better photo of that one, as well, after I clear this all with our rights and reproductions person).

Hevelius's Firmamentum Sobiescianum actually features two fronispieces -- one for the Firmamentum Sobiescianum proper (the star atlas) [this is the one you have already] and the other for the Prodromus Astronomiae (the introduction to the star catalog and atlas). The Prodromus Astronomiae frontispiece also has a portrait of Ptolemy.

His Machina Coelestis (vol. 1, 1673) has what is likely a portrait of Ptolemy, given that this figure is grouped with portraits of Tycho Brahe and Copernicus and another figure that is presumably Aristotle, the four comprising the major figures in planetary system theory.

These books are currently on exhibit in my exhibit about The Remarkable Work of Copernicus, Hevelius, and Other Historic Polish Astronomers, but will be coming off exhibit in two weeks. I can snap some digital pics for you once they're back in the library, as well as providing descriptions of the plates. Remind me during the first week of February, in case I forget.

The Hevelius image that you currently have on your site depicts Hevelius himself (in the foreground) presenting his star catalog and nine of his twelve new constellations to the history of astronomy represented by ten major historical figures (of which Ptolemy is one), Urania, personifications of the planets, and representations of some of the original 48 (Ptolemaic) constellations. Although the date on the frontispiece is 1687, the atlas was not published until 1690 due to the untimely death of Hevelius shortly before it was to go to press.


Portrait of Hevelius
from Johannes Hevelius, Machina coelestis (Gdansk, 1679)


Collaboration de Robert H. van Gent

But there is plenty more to be found in 16th & 17th-century astronomy books. Offhand I recall having seen him depicted on the frontispieces of celestial atlases of Bayer (1603), Cellarius (1660) and Hevelius (1690), the frontispiece of Kepler's Rudolphine Tables (1627) and also on the star map of the northern hemisphere by Albrecht Durer (1515).

Plusieurs autres portraits des XVIe et XVIIe siècles se trouvent dans des livres d'astronomie. Je me souviens en avoir vu dans les frontispices des atlas célestes de Bayer (1603), Cellarius (1660) et Hevelius (1690), le frontispice de Kepler's Rudolphine Tables (1627) et aussi dans les cartes du ciel de l'hémisphère nord par Albrecht Durer (1515).



FRIEDMAN Anna Felicity, Assistant Curator, History of Astronomy, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, 1 312 322-0527 phone, 1 312 341-9935 fax. Alternative email.
VAN GENT Robert H., Utrecht.


Johann Hevelius, URANOGRAPHIA (1690), second internal page, web edition by Istituto di Fisica Generale Applicata dell'Università degli Studi di Milano, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera.
mise à jour le 21 janvier 2001

Ptolemy Ptolémée


web Robert DEROME