Typus Selenographicus Lunæ Phases...
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Plate 19 – Typus Selenographicus Lunæ Phases...
From: Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica
Amsterdam: Schenk and Valk, 1708
Hand-colored copperplate engraving
36 1/2” x 32" framed
This plate serves a composition that is very different from all the other prints in the series. It is one of the most unique in the series due to the composition and how it eradicates the common round image space, which in all the other prints is confined by a border and set apart from the surrounding decorative elements. This allows for a large space of color from end to end, emphasizing the square aspect of the print. The duality of shapes in the other prints make for an interesting composition, but the decision to remove the circle in this print contributes an enjoyable variation to the work and provides an element of alteration to incite interest and curiosity into the body of work.
Standing out amongst its peers draws the viewer in, questioningly looking for answers. Although the plate itself cannot provide the answer as to its unique nature, it does provide some interesting information about the moon. In terms of Astronomy, understanding about astrological bodies in the early to mid 17th century was limited and often misunderstood. Naturally time has brought new light on many of the aspects, revealing that one of the most understood celestial elements of the time was the moon.
This plate describes and illustrates the phases of the moon. It was understood during this time that the moon was non luminous and this remains true and can be seen in the diagram by the rays of the sun reflecting off the moons surface. The center diagram depicts the 8 main stations; New Moon, Crescent Moon in sextile aspect, Half Moon in quartile aspect, nearly orb shaped Moon in trine aspect, Full Moon in opposition with the Sun, another nearly orb shaped Moon in trine aspect, another Half Moon in quartile aspect, and another Crescent Moon in sextile aspect.
The bottom right diagram depicts the four most significant stages: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, Last Quarter. The bottom left diagram depicts 36 phases of the moon.