SUNDIALS IN ART

THE AMBASSADORS . HANS HOLBEIN . 1533 . NATIONAL GALLERY

The Ambassadors – detail . Holbein . National Gallery

NICOLAS KRATZER . HANS HOLBEIN . 1528 . LOUVRE

Nicholas Kratzer . Holbein . Louvre . OS

Nicholas Kratzer (ca.1487 – 1550) was a German mathematician, astronomer, and horologist. He was appointed as astronomer to King Henry VIII. He is depicted with the tools of his trade, working on the construction of a polyhedral dial. On the shelf behind his head is a cylinder dial.

Nicholas Kratzer . Holbein . Louvre . Cylinder Dial
Nicholas Kratzer . Holbein . Polyhedral Dial

Kratzer was a prolific dial maker including a portable dial for Cardinal Wolsey, now in the Oxford Museum of the History of Science. Among his creations were at least three sundials made in Oxford, where he had a connection with Corpus Christi College, presumably as a mathematician. None still exists.

DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI – BEATRIX BEATA

Rossetti’s grief for the death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal inspired this interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s loss of Beatrice Portinari. This version is in the Tate Gallery; there were many others in various formats, both contemporary and later. The symbolism in the painting (blood red dove; Ponte Vecchio etc) includes a prominently placed sundial. According to the Tate’s account of the iconography, “Beatrice’s death, which occurred at nine o’clock on 9th June 1290, is foreseen in the sundial which casts its shadow over the number nine“. 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Beata Beatrix, ca 1864-70.

PETER FLÖTNER: HUMAN SUNDIAL

TO BE ADDED

SUNDIALS AS ALBUM COVER ART