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  • Writer's pictureJean Michel

De Sphaera d'Este - Christoforo de Predis ("A description of the celestial sphere and the planets")

"De Sphaera d’Este" ("A description of the celestial sphere and the planets") is the most famous astrological manuscript of the Renaissance. Originally, the book had no title and no hint existed as to the author or the copyist of the book.

Christoforo de Predis was born around 1440/45, presumably in Milan, and was deaf-mute by birth. He worked around 1471 as an illuminator for the Court of the Sforza and was prominent collaborator and disciple of Leonardo da Vinci.

The presence of the coats of arms of the Sforza and the Visconti families suggest that the manuscript came to the Estense Library as part of the dowry of Anna Sforza (1476-97), daughter of Galeazzo Maria, duke of Milan, who in 1491 married Alfonso I d'Este, duke of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio.

The style of the manuscript and its landscape representations clearly show that it was produced by a workshop in the Lombard area.

It is made up of 15 full-page miniatures representing the seven planets as an allegorical figure, featuring the relevant good or bad properties together with their associated astrological sign and representations of their influence on human activities, depicted as everyday life in the XV Century. The rhymed texts that accompany the miniatures function as captions and are in Gothic script.

The planets appear in the order of:

Saturn - Jupiter - Mars - Sun - Venus - Mercury - Moon

Complete PDF:

De Sphaera d'Este - A Description of the Celestial Sphere and the Planets
Download PDF • 14.79MB

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