1687 Rossi / Brunacci Celestial Star Chart

Planisfero del Globo Celeste Artico Antartico. - Main View

1687 Rossi / Brunacci Celestial Star Chart


Finely engraved double hemisphere celestial chart.


Planisfero del Globo Celeste Artico Antartico.
  1687 (dated)     16.75 x 22.5 in (42.545 x 57.15 cm)


An intricately engraved 1687 double hemisphere celestial chart prepared by Francesco Brunacci for inclusion in Giacomo Giovanni Rossi's atlas Mercurio Geografico, overo Guida Geografica in tutte le parti del Mondo, one of the most beautiful Italian atlases of the 17th century..
A Closer Look
The night sky is presented in two hemispheres on a polar stereographic projection, centered on the ecliptic poles, which differ slightly from the Arctic and Antarctic poles noted nearby. Stars are classified into six sizes (noted on a legend at bottom towards left). The mythological figures associated with the major constellations are illustrated, superimposed over the stars, and labeled. Longitude lines marking out degrees at intervals of 30 crisscross the hemispheres, as do curved lines representing the paths of tropics and equinoxes.

Beyond the hemispheres, the sun (at center-top), moon (at center-bottom), and other planets (in the corners) are depicted, corresponding to a legend at bottom. The presentation of the sun and moon is especially interesting, given the inclusion of sunspots on the former and a profusion of craters and mare on the latter. The lower part of the sheet includes a 'Description of the Celestial Globe by Francesco Brunacci,' explaining the representation of the night sky above (inspired by Johann Bayer's 1603 star atlas Uranometria), discussing the number of stars and other celestial features included, their distances from Earth, and similar details.
Publication History and Census
This sheet was prepared by Francesco Brunacci and engraved by Vincenzo Mariotti in 1687 for Giacomo Giovanni Rossi's atlas Mercurio Geografico, overo Guida Geografica in tutte le parti del Mondo. It served as the first chart or map in the atlas, following the title page. It is listed among the holdings of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the National Library of Australia, and the National Library of New Zealand in the OCLC.


Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi (1627 - 1691) was an Italian engraver and printer, active in Rome during the second half of the 17th century. His father, Giuseppe de Rossi (1570 - 1639), was the founder of the most important and active printing press of the 17th century in Rome. The printing press was begun in 1633, by Giuseppe de Rossi, and it passed firstly to Giovanni Giacomo and to his brother Giandomenico (1619 - 1653), and then later to Lorenzo Filippo (1682-?), then Domenico de Rossi (1659 - 1730). Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi was most active between 1638 and 1691 and was to take the company to the height of its success. The artists that he printed the etchings for included Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609 - 1665), Pietro Testa (1612-1650), and Giovan Francesco Grimaldi (1606 – 1680). Cartographically he is best known for producing the maps of Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola and publishing them in his c. 1683 Mercurio Geografico. In 1738 the firm became the Calcografia Camerale, from 1870 until 1945 the Regia Calcografica, and today it is known as the Calcografia Nazionale. The Calcografia Nazionale holds is one of the finest collections of early printing plates and prints in the world. More by this mapmaker...

Francesco Brunacci (September 19, 1640 - November 6, 1703) was an Italian astronomer, philosopher, and mathematician. Born in the Marche region, he studied law in Macerata and then moved to Rome to begin a legal career. His attentions soon turned to mathematics and astronomy, and he studied with the monk Placido de Titi, an accomplished scholar of his time. He and his associate Francesco Maria Onorati reprinted Placido de Titi's work, but also improved deficiencies in it relating to the motion of celestial bodies. He is best known for his celestial chart 'Planisfero del Globo Celeste Artico Antartico,' which appeared in a 1687 atlas published by Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi. Learn More...

Vincenzo Mariotti (1650-1734) was an Italian engraver, printmaker and painter active in Rome. He is believed to have been a pupil and collaborator of the Jesuit architect and painter Andrea Pozzo. In the world of maps, Mariotti is primarily known for his work on Giacomo Rossi's 1688 Mercurio Geografico. Learn More...


Rossi, G., Mercurio Geografico, overo Guida Geografica in tutte le parti del Mondo..., (Rome: Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi) 1692.    


Good. Light soiling. Notable creasing along centerfold, especially at bottom. Spots of discoloration and surface abrasion on and near centerfold.


OCLC 949815644, 1410545555, 312894217, 243523933.