THROUGHOUT HISTORY, the dark night skies, the planets, and the starry universe have inspired the human imagination in countless ways. The cosmic backdrop beyond our own world has been a ceaseless source of inspiration in art and literature, in philosophy and religion, and in science and cosmology. From the dawn of civilisation, humans have attempted to understand both the context and the place of their lives in the universe.
An epic trajectory connects the divine perfections of the universe as understood in Ancient Greece to the chaotic dynamics of the Big Bang universe in the 21st century. That journey through time and space is marked by a rich heritage of art, mapmaking, imagery, and space-age photography. Celestial Treasury showcases the beauty of images of the universe and the way they have evolved with time.
Images of the universe often convey more than physical information, because they can have an emotional and aesthetic effect on the viewer. Celestial Treasury balances science and beauty by showing how the development of our present understanding of the universe was inspired by literature, the fine arts, and philosophy.
The four hundred illustrations encompass beautiful Greek vases, rare medieval manuscripts, exquisite engravings in early printed books, superb cartography, spectacular astronomical photographs, exotic planetary landscapes, and computer simulations. These images from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the present superbly illustrate the many-faceted advances in our understanding of the cosmos.
Four main topics unify the presentation. These are: the different mechanical schemes for understanding planetary motion; representation of the sky and the universe through maps and globes; creation traditions; and mythological traditions.
Celestial Treasury is a sumptuous survey of the iconography, the mythology, and the science of the cosmos.