Earliest star maps could chart a course to $290,000 at Sotheby's


2015-06-26 12:18:57


Earliest star maps could chart a course to $290,000 at Sotheby's

The oldest star charts published in Europe, by Albrecht Drer, are auctioning on Wednesday

The oldest star charts published in Europe are going under the hammer at Sotheby's on Wednesday, March 30.

The earliest printed star charts are presented as a pair of extremely rare woodcuts, each by Albrecht Drer (1471-1528) the Viennese painter, printmaker, mathematician, engraver, and theorist. One displays the Northern Sky and the other the Southern Sky.

Dated to circa 1515, the maps were produced under the patronage of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Theyreflect Drer's virtuosity as a cartographer, as well as hisinterest in mathematics and science.

The works were produced as part of a landmark collaboration between Drer, German astronomer Conrad Heinfogel and cartographer and astronomer Johan Stabis.

Albrecht Drer's maps of the Northern and Southern skies

There are only 10 other examples of these 1515 charts extant, and you can only find them in some of the world's leading institutions. What's more, this pair is one of only three with contemporary hand-colouring.

Needless to say, these works by Drer provided a massive inspiration for successive generations of mapmakers.

With their provenance and rarity, it's no surprise that the charts will carry a 120,000-180,000 ($292,178) estimate when they appear in London on Wednesday.

Watch this space for more news on the sale.

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