De Sideribus Tractatus - Treasures of the New York Public Library

Our new Astronomica design highlights the craftsmanship involved in the production of illuminated books. De sideribus tractatus is a 15th-century manuscript copy of De astronomia, a late 1st-century BC treatise on astronomy believed to have been composed by C. Julius Hyginus, a freedman of Augustus Caesar and chief librarian of the Palatine Library in Rome. Though the original is long lost, it has been transmitted across the centuries by scribes who painstakingly reproduced the text and by miniaturists who supplied the illustrations.

This manuscript’s text is believed to have been inscribed by Francesco Buzzacarini. The quality and detail of the artwork, attributed to Giovanni Vendramin and a miniaturist known as the “Douce Master,” is what makes it such an exceptional copy of De astronomia, outshining nearly every other known copy of Hyginus’ work. Today, the manuscript is part of The New York Public Library’s Spencer Collection and featured in the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library Treasures.

For fans of: Illuminated manuscripts, Roman history, zodiac and constellations, Gutenberg Bible, Early Cartography, Embellished Manuscripts