Sphaerae Mundi

Sphaerae Mundi: Early Globes at the Stewart Museum, Montreal

Edward H. Dahl
Jean-François Gauvin
Eileen Meillon
Robert Derome
Peter van der Krogt
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Sphaerae Mundi
    Book Description:

    Advances in modern science and technology have made present-day terrestrial and celestial globes scientifically obsolete and aesthetically banal. From the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century, however, they were indispensable tools for the study of geography and astronomy. Beginning with an overview of early globes, the authors examine how the modern era in globe making, which began in Flemish and Dutch shops in the early seventeenth century, show how globe making spread throughout Europe, and explain how what were both decorative and scientific objects became symbols of power, universal knowledge, intellectual status, and personal vanity.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6907-2
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 7-7)
    Mrs. David M. Stewart

    Early globes combine science and art. A passion for them came naturally to my husband, who was fascinated with the world around him, cared deeply for his country and its history. He marvelled at how successive discoveries only sharpened the thirst for knowledge. In 1968 we acquired the first globes for the Stewart Museum: a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes by Matthäus Greuter, the first important globe maker in Italy. The terrestrial globe, dated 1632, clearly shows New France and the town of Quebec, using the maps that the great explorer Samuel de Champlain had published in 1613.


  4. Preface
    (pp. 8-9)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 11-23)
    Peter van der Krogt

    With these lines, the great English mathematician and globe maker Joseph Moxon (1627-91) introduces the opening section (titled “What a Globe Is”) of his treatise, A Tutor to Astronomie and Geographie; or, an easie and speedy way to know the use of both globes, coelestial and terrestrial, published in London in 1670 (first ed., 1659). Moxon’s title page claims that his work in six books, “sold at his shop … at the signe of Atlas,” teaches the rudiments of the subject “more fully and amply than hath yet been set forth either by Gemma Frisius, Metius, Hues, Wright, Blaew, or...

  6. An Art Historian’s Approach to Globes
    (pp. 25-65)
    Robert Derome

    This essay represents a venture into a field that has not been widely studied, the decorative arts elements of globes and armillary spheres. The collections of the Stewart Museum are here classified according to the shapes of the stands and bases. Aspects of engraving, printing, colouring and iconology are also studied.

    The stands and bases are divided into five categories and examined in chronological order: four columns with a central pivot, triangular bases, monopode stands, miniatures housed in boxes or cases, and armillary spheres. The most common form is the four-column type, but there are also six-column examples from the...

  7. 1 Globes from The Netherlands
    (pp. 67-85)

    Peter van der krogt’s introductory essay in this book discusses the early period of terrestrial and celestial globe production in Europe, ending with an overview of Gerard Mercator’s outstanding activities in the southern Netherlands and the subsequent shift of globe production to Amsterdam near the end of the sixteenth century.

    In the decades before 1600, Amsterdam had grown rapidly in size and population mainly because of religious and political conflicts to the south which had resulted in the blocking of the Scheldt River and closing of the port of Antwerp. Maritime trade consequently began to prefer more northerly ports, especially...

  8. 2 Globes from England
    (pp. 87-103)

    Significant globe makers were active in England late in the sixteenth century. Among them were Emery Molyneux, who produced several pairs of globes around 1590 with Jodocus Hondius as the engraver. In the middle of the seventeenth century, Joseph Moxon worked in London as both globe and instrument maker. He had received part of his training in the workshops of Joan Blaeu in Amsterdam. In 1654, Moxon published A Tutor to Astronomy and Geography; or, an easie and speedy way to understand the use of both the globes, celestial and terrestrial, which was based on Blaeu’s Tweevoudigh Onderwijs (1634). Moxon...

  9. 3 Globes from Germany
    (pp. 105-117)

    In Europe, certain regions or cities flourished as centres of globe production for short periods of time: outside of these periods, no globes are known to have been made there. But this does not apply to Nuremberg, in the south of Germany, where globes were produced beginning in the fifteenth century, although not continuously and not on a scale comparable with Amsterdam and Paris. As early as the 1440s, Cardinal Nicolaus Cusanus is known to have purchased a celestial globe in Nuremberg; in 1492, Martin Behaim had his terrestrial globe made there (see fig. 4). During the sixteenth century, Johann...

  10. 4 Globes from Italy
    (pp. 119-141)

    Three globe makers — Greuter, Coronelli and Cassini — born in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, were responsible for most of Italy’s globe production. That the number is so small is surprising, given that it was Italian cartographers who had so greatly influenced the representation of the known world during the Renaissance. Italian maps, in addition, had inspired and enabled some of the great explorers to undertake daring expeditions for Spain, England and France, resulting in discoveries which made a profound intellectual impact on many fronts in Europe. In Italy during the sixteenth century, individual hand-drawn globes were produced...

  11. 5 Globes from Sweden
    (pp. 143-147)

    Little in the way of globe production had occurred in Sweden until well into the eighteenth century. The birth of globe making in this country was the direct result of the scientific accomplishments of the Académie royale des sciences in Paris. In imitation of this latter society, the Swedish scientific academy actively encouraged its members to carry out geographic research. In order to promote the study of the nation’s geography, the Uppsala Cosmographical Society (which included among its members Torbern Olof Bergman, later renowned for his studies in geophysics) hired Anders Åkerman* (circa 1721-78), a skilled engraver and learned mathematician....

  12. 6 Globes from France
    (pp. 149-189)

    The founding of the Académie royale des sciences in 1666 and the Observatoire de Paris the following year effected, by the end of the seventeenth century, a spatial redefinition of the globe, promoted in particular by the observatory’s director — the learned Italian, Jean-Dominique Cassini — and based on the systematic use of the satellites of Jupiter to determine longitude. In France, this period became known as the Enlightenment, the era of the “quantifying spirit” — the passion to order and systematize as well as to measure and calculate (fig. 91).

    A student of Cassini, Guillaume Delisle* (1675-1726) adopted and...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 190-193)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 194-199)
  15. Index
    (pp. 200-204)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 205-205)
  17. [Map]
    (pp. None)