Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

Regensburg (Germany) — Around 1491

Foreseeing the future with the help of the stars: the illuminated Astrolabium planum by the Regensburg master Berthold Furtmeyr

  1. A household calendar book addressed to the interested layperson, with the help of which one should foresee future events

  2. Originating in Regensburg ca. 1491, this was presumably the commission Philip the Upright (1448–1508), Elector Palatine

  3. Berthold Furtmeyr (active in Regensburg 1470–1501) and his workshop added a gorgeous astrolabe to the illuminated codex

Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

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  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is surely one of the most famous manuscripts in the history of illumination! Probably originating in Regensburg ca. 1491, the Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg was the commission of a wealthy patron, presumably Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut. The Regensburg master Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop made the completed the manuscript’s artistic furnishings, a gorgeous rotatable astrolabe. The various astronomical-astrological treatise, which are assembled here with high-quality illustrations allow for an inside view into this wondrous and interesting theme of the 15th century.

Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is surely one of the most famous manuscripts in the history of illumination! Probably originating in Regensburg ca. 1491, the Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg was the commission of a wealthy patron, presumably Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut. The Regensburg master Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop made the completed the manuscript’s artistic furnishings, a gorgeous rotatable astrolabe. The various astronomical-astrological treatise, which are assembled here with high-quality illustrations allow for an inside view into this wondrous and interesting theme of the 15th century.

A Coveted Collectible

The Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg is named after its current – and historic! – repository: the Universität Heidelberg’s library, the successor of the famous Biblioteca Palatina**. The unique manuscript originated in Regensburg ca. 1491, presumably at the behest of Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine and his wife, Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut, which is indicated in the book by the escutcheons of the Palatine and Bavaria. The bibliophile jewel already found itself in the possession of Pope Gregory XV (1554–1623) in the following century. From there it came to the Biblioteca Palatina in Heidelberg. Coming into papal possession in turn after 1623 – Gregory XV – the manuscript returned to its former locale in Heidelberg, the Biblioteca Palatina, in 1816.

Astrological Scholarship

Cod. Pal. Germ. 832 of the university library in Heidelberg counts among the most significant manuscripts of the 15th century. The famous Astrolabium Planum of Heidelbergcombines various astronomical-astrological texts on 542 pages, including an astrological hunting treatise, the geomancy of Johannes Hartlieb, and an astrological calendar. Additionally, it provides various calendar information for the calculation of the correct date for bloodletting or the phases of the moon, for example. Human destiny can also be calculated with the help of the constellations!

An Artistic Gem

This text on astronomy and astrology with instructions on the use of the tables and aids presented was decorated in an impressively artistic manner in the Heidelberg manuscript. The altogether 380 miniatures are a work of the Regensburg miniaturist Berthold Furtmeyr and his workshop. Originating from the master’s hand, inter alia, is an exceptional feature of the manuscript: a flat, rotatable astrolabe painted in opaque colors on a gold background for the calculation of cosmic constellations. The gorgeous miniatures, e.g. of zodiac signs, but also of complex tables and instructions, are mostly mustered against a gold background. They lend the famous Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg its unique and prominent position within the history of illumination!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Astrolabium planum in tabulis
Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch
Size / Format
542 pages / 36.0 × 26.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
Around 1491
Language
Illustrations
380 miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Pope Gregory XV (1554–1623)
Biblioteca Palatina (Heidelberg, Germany)

Available facsimile editions:
Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg – Cod. Pal. germ. 832 – Universitätsbibliothek (Heidelberg, Germany)
Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981
Limited Edition: 50 copies

Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch - Standard Edition
Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981
Limited Edition: 700 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch - De Luxe Edition

Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981
Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg – Cod. Pal. germ. 832 – Universitätsbibliothek (Heidelberg, Germany)
Astrolabium Planum of Heidelberg – Cod. Pal. germ. 832 – Universitätsbibliothek (Heidelberg, Germany) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981
Limited Edition: 50 copies
Binding: Parchment
Commentary: 1 volume by Bernhard D. Haage
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. 94 pages of the Astrolabium planum in tabulis ( folios 36 - 83) are reproduced. Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Please ask for a quote!

#2 Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch - Standard Edition

Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981

Publisher: Insel Verlag – Frankfurt, 1981
Limited Edition: 700 copies
Binding: Goat skin
Commentary: 1 volume by Bernhard D. Haage
Language: German
1 volume: 94 pages of the Astrolabium planum in tabulis (folios 36 - 83) are reproduced. Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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