7. Gallucci, Giovanni Paolo. Theatrum mundi. Venice, 1588.
There are several atlases in this exhibition that have never received the credit they deserve, and Gallucci's Theater of the World is certainly one of these. It is an absolutely delightful collection of lively constellation figures, overlaying quite accurate maps of the stars. The star positions were taken from the catalog in Copernicus's On the Revolutions, and they were mapped by a trapezoidal system of projection that was common among geographic cartographers of the time. We reproduce here a detail from the chart of Bootes; he strides along with a lilting gait that had no precedent, and unfortunately no successor. Another wonderful figure is that of Cassiopeia, who sprawls much more comfortably in her chair than in any preceding atlas. Johann Bayer would publish his Uranometria in just fifteen years, and he could have done worse than pattern his figures after those in Gallucci's Theatrum. But Bayer did not; in fact, there is no sign that he was even aware of its existence.