Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

Cod. Pal. germ. 832 - Array (Heidelberg, Germany)

Alternate Titles:

Astrolabium planum in tabulis, Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Astrolabium planum in tabulis
Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch

Type
Extent / Format

542 pages / 36.0 x 26.0 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1491
Style
Genre
Language
Patron

Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine of the Rhine (1448 - 1508) and his wife Margaret of Bavaria (1456 - 1501)

Artist / School

Authors: Johannes Hartlieb and others
Miniaturist: Berthold Furtmeyr atelier

Illustrations

380 miniatures

Former owners

Pope Gregory XV (1554 - 1623)
Biblioteca Palatina (Heidelberg, Germany)

Short description

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is surely one of the most famous manuscripts in the history of illumination! Probably originating in Regensburg ca. 1491, the Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg was the commission of a wealthy patron, presumably Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut. The Regensburg master Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop made the completed the manuscript’s artistic furnishings, a gorgeous rotatable astrolabe. The various astronomical-astrological treatise, which are assembled here with high-quality illustrations allow for an inside view into this wondrous and interesting theme of the 15th century.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is surely one of the most famous manuscripts in the history of illumination! Probably originating in Regensburg ca. 1491, the Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg was the commission of a wealthy patron, presumably Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut. The Regensburg master Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop made the completed the manuscript’s artistic furnishings, a gorgeous rotatable astrolabe. The various astronomical-astrological treatise, which are assembled here with high-quality illustrations allow for an inside view into this wondrous and interesting theme of the 15th century.

A Coveted Collectible

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is named after its current – and historic! – repository: the Universität Heidelberg’s library, the successor of the famous Biblioteca Palatina. The unique manuscript originated in Regensburg ca. 1491, presumably at the behest of Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife, Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut, which is indicated in the book by the escutcheons of the Palatine and Bavaria. The bibliophile jewel already found itself in the possession of Pope Gregory XV (1554-1623) in the following century. From there it came to the Biblioteca Palatina in Heidelberg. Coming into papal possession in turn after 1623 – Gregory XV – the manuscript returned to its former locale in Heidelberg, the Biblioteca Palatina, in 1816.

Astrological Scholarship

Cod. Pal. Germ. 832 of the university library in Heidelberg counts among the most significant manuscripts of the 15th century. The famous Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg combines various astronomical-astrological texts on 542 pages, including an astrological hunting treatise, the geomancy of Johannes Hartlieb, and an astrological calendar. Additionally, it provides various calendar information for the calculation of the correct date for bloodletting or the phases of the moon, for example. Human destiny can also be calculated with the help of the constellations!

An Artistic Gem

This text on astronomy and astrology with instructions on the use of the tables and aids presented was decorated in an impressively artistic manner in the Heidelberg manuscript. The altogether 380 miniatures are a work of the Regensburg miniaturist Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop. Originating from the master’s hand, inter alia, is an exceptional feature of the manuscript: a flat, rotatable astrolabe painted in opaque colors on a gold background for the calculation of cosmic constellations. The gorgeous miniatures, e.g. of zodiac signs, but also of complex tables and instructions, are mostly mustered against a gold background. They lend the famous Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg its unique and prominent position within the history of illumination!

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