Astrolabes in Arts

Astrolabes and paintings

Three scientists using an astrolabe
Three scientists using an astrolabe (detail)

Three scientists using an astrolabe

13th century
extract from Psautier de Saint Louis et de Blanche de Castille, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

The clock maker Richard de Wallingford
The clock maker Richard de Wallingford (detail)

Representation of the mathematician and clock maker Richard de Wallingford

Abbot of Saint Albans, where an astrolabe and a quadrant can be seen. He is known for the design of astronomical clocks. Extract from the book History of abbots of St Albans, British Library.

Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck

Saint Jerome in his study by Jan van Eyck

The back of an astrolabe can be seen on the wall behind him. The alidade is visible and the shadow square can be identified.

Horologium Sapientiae
Detail showing a planispheric astrolabe
Detail showing a quadrant astrolabe and sundials

Horologium Sapientiae

15th century.
Miniature from 1450 taken from a copy of "Horologium Sapientiae" written around 1330 by Constance Henrich Seuse, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er, Bruxelles

Allegory of navigation with astrolabe by Paolo Veronese
Detail of the astrolabe

Allegory of navigation with astrolabe
by Paolo Veronese

Ptolemy holds a planispheric astrolabe in his arms. This painting is associated with another allegory of navigation with staff-cross (an instrument to measure angles).

Paolo Veronese


Engraving of the astronomer Christophoris Clavius
16th century

A quadrant astrolabe and an astrolabe without rete can be seen in the back.

Tapestry named Astronomy

Tapestry named Astronomy
16th century

kept in the Gothenburg museum in Sweden.
An astrolabe is laying on a table in front of an astronomer. It illustrated the Patrick Moore's book Watchers of the stars.

Jan Vermeer

The astronomer by Jan Vermeer

shows an astronomer raising his arm on a celestial sphere. In front of him, Adriaan Metius' book on Astronomy and Geometry, open at the beginning of Book III which is about astrolabes. Laying on clothes in front of the sphere, a large planispheric astrolabe is partly visible.

More about this painting

Jan Vermeer

Astrolabes and Sculpture

Christopher Colombus

Bust of Christopher Colombus measuring the altitude of a celestial body with a mariner's astrolabe.
Bronze by Don F. Wiegand (1991).

Astrolabes and Stamps

stamp from Syria  stamp from Syria 

Two Syrian stamps.


A Russian stamp of 1983 showing Ptolemy. An astrolabe is partly visible on the edge.

Australian stamp 

Australian stamp of 33 cents (2000).

Polish stamp 

Polish stamp with a mariner's astrolabe.

Al Zarqali 

Spanish stamp with the astronomer Al Zarqali, famous inventor of the Univesal Astrolabe.

More about Al Zarqali

Mariner's astrolabe  Mariner's astrolabe 

Two stamps showing mariner's astrolabes, from Angola (left) and Uganda (right).

More about these stamps

Astrolabes and Mint

Astrolabe on note  Astrolabe on note  Astrolabe on note

Two bank notes from Irak showing an astrolabe.
A 250 dinar bank note from 2003 (left) and a 0.50 dinar bank note from 1993 (right).

Astrolabe on coin  Astrolabe on coin

250 Canadian dollar coins printed for the 2010 Olympic Games of Vancouvert. A mariner's astrolabe can be seen on the right and a sextan on the left.

Astrolabe on coin

Astrolabes and Horology

Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium  Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium 

Automatic watch Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium.

Gives the position of Sun, Moon and stars, sunrise and sunset hours, dawn and twilight, moonphases, Sun and Moon eclipses, date and day of the week.

More about this watch

Christiaan van der Klaauw  Christiaan van der Klaauw 

CK Astrolabium by Christiaan van der Klaauw.
Collection of nine automatic watches with astrolabe dial.

More about this watch

  Astrolabe on a watch 

Gadget watch with an astrolabe dial.

Astronomical clock  Astronomical clock 

Astronomical clock of Praha built in 1410.
The clock runs like an astrolabe.

More about this clock.

View the show given for the 600th anniversary of the clock.

Astronomical clock  Astronomical clock 

Astronomical clock with astrolabe dial in Shinjuku district, Tokyo, Japan.

Artisan astrolabes

Brigitte Alix  Brigitte Alix 

Brigitte Alix

Hand-made planispheric or mariner's astrolabes in brass or wood. (in French)

Martin Brunold  Martin Brunold  Martin Brunold 

Martin Brunold

Hand-made astrolabes in brass, from ancient models. (in German)

Détail d'un astrolabe Astrolabe sur présentoire

Pierre Paquette

Astrolabes and ancient instruments.

Continue with next page: » Bibliography on Astrolabes