The planetary models of Jupiter, Venus, Moon and Sun and the Eighth Sphere in the Musei Civici di Vicenza: notes on their discovery and descriptive historical and educational aspects.

Sep 9, 2021, 10:20 AM


Carolo, Attilio Giovanni (Independent researcher)


This communication presents four mid-16th-century planetary models found during an investigation, started in 2015, on a 19th-century composite apparatus of Physics objects and machines that is now part of the Musei Civici di Vicenza collection.
Planetary models were tools used to represent the Cosmos according to the Ptolemaic system, and each one of them was designed to show the movements of a single celestial body in conformity with the observations gathered by astronomers up to that time.
The Vicenza planetary models were probably made in Venice around the third quarter of the 16th century and can be attributed to A. Descrolieres, a manufacturer who had trained in Leuven. They were conceived as interpretative tools of the Ptolemaic system as illustrated in G. Peurbach’s Theoricæ Novæ Planetarum (1472) and later Commentaries. Sparse bibliographic traces can only allow to speculate that they belonged to the Paduan Wunderkammer of archpriest Paolo Gualdo – who we now know maintained a friendly relationship with Galileo – in the early 17th century; in 1621, they were inherited by the Museum of Palazzo Gualdo in Pusterla in Vicenza; in later times, they were dispersed following the dismemberment of the Museum from 1650 on and returned to Vicenza in 1708.

Essential bibliography:
M-P Lerner, Il mondo delle sfere, Milano, 2000.
E. Poulle, «La produzione di strumenti scientifici», in Il Rinascimento Italiano e l'Europa, Angelo Colla Editore, 2007.
A. Magrini, Il Museo Civico di Vicenza, Vicenza, 1855.
Catalogo Mostra Rivoluzione Galileo, Padova, 2017.
Astrum 2009, Astronomia e strumenti, Roma, 2009.

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Carolo, Attilio Giovanni (Independent researcher)

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