Proposal – Amalie Lambert

Proposal:

To create a drawing that links the Zodiac Man, Christian doctrine and heliocentric cosmology.

“At first the new religion was set at one pole, and any other cognizance of the heavens at the other.” (BOBER 4)The Church was slow to accept astrology and astronomy as valid sciences. However, many thinkers (and artists) attempted to reconcile the two. “[Astrology] had been too deeply ingrained in the body of “scientific” knowledge to be long held in disfavour” (BOBER 5) The Zodiac man is a prime example of this.

Neff speaks of the acquired religious symbolism of the Zodiac Man: “The Christ-like appearance of many images of the micro-cosm […] suggests this relationship to the creator. The frontal pose, with outstretched arms and vertical and horizontal axiality illustrates the human body’s congruence with the four-part ordering of the cosmos […] mankind as the microembodiment of the universe; and mankind as the imperfect mirror of the creator-exemplar, seen in his Christ-like pose.” (NEFF 54)

Bober further describes what such a microembodiment would have looked like, distinguishing between the Zodiac Man and the Microscopic Man: “The Microcosmic Man in his circle is meant to be read in a radial sense, as a web with twelve points on its circumference (the zodiac), seven intermediary points (the planets), and an innermost circle (man), upon which the radii converge” (BOBER 28)

I will attempt to create a drawing/machine which adjusts the Microcosmic Man’s position within the universe, and places him according to our current understanding of the solar system.

Examples of the Microcosmic Man (BOBER plate 3)

Statue of Copernicus in Poland

Sources:

The Zodiacal Miniature of the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry: Its Sources and Meaning

Harry Bober

The Zodiac man in medieval medical astrology

Charles West Clark

‘Palma Dabit Palmam’: Franciscan Themes in a Devotional Manuscript

Amy Neff

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