Star map (c.1515) by Albrecht Durer

Star map - Albrecht Durer - c.1515

Artwork Information

TitleStar map
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Star map

“Star map” is an intricate design by Albrecht Dürer, a master printmaker and artist of the Northern Renaissance, created around 1515. Currently housed at the British Museum in London, UK, this work exemplifies the detailed observational skills and artistic finesse characteristic of the era. The genre of this artwork falls under design and showcases the celestial theme of the time.

The artwork presented is highly detailed, depicting various constellations and celestial figures against a dense network of interlacing lines representing the stars’ positions. Each constellation is personified with illustrations of mythological figures, animals, and objects. For instance, there are drawings identifying Aries as a ram, Taurus as a bull, and Libra as a set of scales. Human figures are also abundant, representing the signs like Virgo and Aquarius or featuring in the symbolization of planetary gods from classical mythology.

The image is executed with precision, conveying not only a sense of wonder regarding the heavens but also the scientific drive to map and understand the celestial sphere that was prevalent during the Northern Renaissance. The text in the image is in Latin, the scholarly language of the period, further emphasizing the educational purpose of the piece. It is an extraordinary blend of artistic mastery and scientific inquiry, reflecting the multidisciplinary interests of the era and of Dürer himself.

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