Johann Elert Bode, Pl. 8 Cygnus; Vultur et Lyra, Uranographia sive astrorum descriptivo..., 1797–1801, uncolored engraving

$3,850 this week only (list price $6,000). Offer expires 5-8-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

ohann Elert Bode, Pl. 8 Cygnus; Vultur et Lyra Uranographia sive astrorum descriptivo...


Johann Elert Bode, Pl. 8 Cygnus; Vultur et Lyra; Sagitta; Hercules, Uranographia sive astrorum descritivo..., 1797–1801, uncolored engraving

Enjoy significant savings on Plate 8 Cygnus; Vultur et Lyra, Hercules, a superb 1801 celestial map from Johann Elert Bode’s, Uranographia, sive astrorum descriptio viginti tabulis aenis incisa ex ex recentimmis et absolotissimis astronomorum observationibus. (Uranographia, or the stellar description of the twenty panels with brass engravings from recent astronomers observations), engraved by Berolini and published in Berlin, 1797–1801.

The major constellations depicted in Plate 8, include Cygnus (swan), Lyra (on the plate, the constellation is depicted as an eagle and lyre) and Hercules (the Greek mythological hero), as well as the minor constellations of Vulpeculia and Anser (Fox and Goose), and Sagitta (Arrow). Each constellation is among the 48 classical constellations listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century.  

This fascinating and beautiful work is both a romantic and scientific rendering of the constellations. Bode’s celestial charts encompass the knowledge of astronomers from the time of Ptolemy to the dawn of the nineteenth century. The engraved plates are accompanied by a catalogue, Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne nebst Verzeichnis der geraden Aufsteigung und der Abweichung von 17240 Sternen. (The constellations of the stars as well as the list of straight ascension and the deviation of 17,240 stars), also published in Berlin, which lists 17,240 stars, more than any other star atlas.

In the catalog’s preface, Bode provides an overview of his celestial maps and their use, and presents the subject in the larger context of a sacred contemplation of wonders, (translated below from German).

“This work, which contains principally a complete catalog of the place occupied by all the fixed stars; double, nebulae, and clusters, which are indicated in my Uranography or Atlas of the Celestial Maps in 20 sheets of the greatest form, is of an indispensable necessity for every astronomer, and may become very useful to lovers of high astronomy. It appears here, working with the greatest economy, on 24 sheets, after having cost me five years, and a lot of time and trouble. The whole reflection of the work is sacred to the friends of heaven, who consecrate their leisure to the contemplation of its wonders. I suppose that besides the possession of Uranography, they desire to be instructed in several points relating to the explanation and use of celestial maps, and to learn to know from these maps the stars In the order of their different constellations.

Bode celestial maps are double-elephant size: 37 x 26 inches.

 $3,850 this week only (list price $6,000). Offer expires 5-8-17.

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Published in Berlin by Berolini in five parts from 1797 to 1801, Bode’s monumental work, Uranographia site Astrorum Descriptio… is the largest celestial star map ever produced and the last of the great star atlases of the golden age of the celestial atlas. The work of thirty astronomers of the preceding 200 years, including Lacaille, Lalande, Messier, and William Herschel is synthesized in this atlas, and over 100 constellations and asterisms are depicted, many added by Bode. In addition, it includes all stars visible to the naked eye. Some 2,500 nebulae catalogued by William Herschel late in 1700s also are shown. Bode’s accompanying catalogue,  Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne nebst Verzeichnis der geraden Aufsteigung und der Abweichung von 17240 Sternen. (Berlin), lists 17,240 stars, more than any other atlas. In the preface to the catalogue, here translated from the German, Bode offers this introduction to his work,

The German mathematician and astronomer Johann Elert Bode (1747– 1826), was the eldest son of nine children born to a merchant. His father educated him to follow him into his business as a merchant. During his youth, he developed an interest in mathematics, geography, and astronomy, and he built a telescope and observatory in the garret of the family’s home.

In 1765, Bode was introduced to the mathematics professor, Johann Georg Busch (1728 – 1800), who gave Bode access to his library and instruments. Bode’s first publication, on solar eclipse of August 5 1766, appeared when he was 19 years old. Bode also observed the transit of Venus June 3, 1769, and an made an independent co-discovery of the comets of 1769 and 1770. He is best known for Bode’s law (Bode, 1772), or the Titius-Bode Law, an empirical law that determines planetary distances, originally found by J.D. Titius (1729–96). IN 1787, Bode became Director of the Berlin Observatory, a post he held until1825, just one year before he died. 

For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.

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