Celestial sphere, known as the Bürgi sphere

Jost Bürgi, Antonius Eisenhoit1580

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers
Paris, France

Jost Bürgi, a Swiss watchmaker, builder of scientific instruments, astronomer and astrologer, worked in the service of Emperor Rudolph II in Prague. He teamed up with the jeweller Antonius Eisenhoit to build several armillary spheres like this one in gilt bronze, dated 1580. An armillary sphere illustrates the Greeks' Earth-centred vision of the universe. The moving sphere shows the constellations and is complemented by a perpetual calendar cleverly designed to indicate leap years. Bürgi's work spurred Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler to build astronomical clocks. A masterpiece of German Renaissance metalwork, this celestial sphere was in the collections of the Academy of Sciences for a long time before entering the Musée des arts et métiers in the mid-19th century.


  • Title: Celestial sphere, known as the Bürgi sphere
  • Creator: Jost Bürgi, Antonius Eisenhoit
  • Date: 1580
  • Date Created: 1580
  • Location: Switzerland
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Globe / Horloge / Astronomie
  • Type: Bois, bronze, fer, verre, laiton
  • Contributor: Author : Lionel Dufaux
  • Inventory number: Inv. 07490
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Pascal Faligot

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