Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Celestial globe with clockwork

Gerhard Emmoser (German, active 1556–84)
Austrian, Vienna
Case: partly gilded silver and gilded brass; Movement: brass and steel
Overall: 10 3/4 × 8 × 7 1/2 in. (27.3 × 20.3 × 19.1 cm); Diameter of globe: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Metalwork-Silver In Combination
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
This richly ornamented clockwork-driven globe combines luxury and complexity, making it a worthy addition to a princely collection. Made for the famed Kunstkammer (art room) of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, the globe originally rotated, powered by an internal movement, and an image of the sun moved along the path of the ecliptic. Use of the mythological winged Pegasus to support the celestial sphere conveys a Renaissance idea that “the wings of the human mind” support the science of astronomy.
Signature: Signed on semi-circle mounted at right angles to meridian ring: GERHARD / EMMOSER · SAC[RAE] · CAES[ARAE] · MEIS[TATIS] · HOROLOGIARIUS · F[ECIT] · VIENNÆ · A[NNO] · 1579 [trans.: Gerhard Emmoser, clockmaker to the Holy Roman Emperor, Vienna, 1579]
Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II of Austria (by 1607/11–1648) ; Christina, Queen of Sweden (from 1651) ; Avocat Fortier, Conseiller du Roi (1770) ; M. Delacronière, Conseiller en la cour des aides de Paris (1781) ; M. Daugny (until 1858; his sale, Hôtel des Commissaires-Priséurs (Charles Pillet), Paris, March 8, 1858, no. 62); Charles Mannheim (in 1898) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , New York and London (until 1913) ; J. P. Morgan Jr. , New York (by descent, 1913–17; to MMA)
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