(Venetiis [Venice]: apud Ioannem Baptistam Somascum, 1588). 247 x 175 mm. (9 3/4 x 6 7/8"). 8 p.l., 280, 280-81, 281-478 pp.,  leaf (errata and instructions to binder). (With the often lacking additional leaf inserted between Mm4 and Nn1, showing the constellation Cepheus). FIRST EDITION, First Issue (with Xx2 and Ooo2 missigned Xx3 and Ooo, respectively).
Contemporary limp vellum, flat spine with early ink titling. With printer's Sagittarius device on title page and 144 FULL-PAGE ASTRONOMICAL WOODCUTS, 50 WITH WORKING VOLVELLES, WITH A TOTAL OF 69 MOVING PARTS. With the (often lacking) large folding chart "Canon sexagenarius" and an additional leaf inserted between Mm4 and Nn1, showing the constellation Cepheus. Title page with early ink owner inscription of the Jesuit House of Naples. Mortimer "Italian" 206; Riccardi I, 568; STC Italian 288; Adams G-168; Graesse III, 19; Thorndike VI, 158-59; USTC 831617; EDIT 16 20287. Vellum a little soiled, extremities lightly rubbed, original small pasted-on paper squares meant to secure the strings of a volvelle sometimes strengthened on a leaf verso with an additional (probably old) paste-over (text unaffected), occasional small stains or mild marginal foxing, but generally A FINE CONTEMPORARY COPY, clean and fresh internally, with comfortable margins, and generally in an unusually well-preserved state.
This is the original printing of the work considered the first modern celestial atlas using Copernican coordinates for the location of the stars. Noted for its visual appeal, the atlas features 96 full-page wood engravings of circular diagrams and dials, 50 of these with working volvelles. In addition to astrological charts, the diagrams include the hemisphere of the New World, calculators for tides, and a representation of Limbo, Purgatory, and the Nine Circles of Hell as described by Dante. Book V contains 48 wood engravings of the Ptolemaic constellations, complete with drawings of the mythological figures represented by the stars. Thorndike notes that in his dedication to Pope Sixtus V, who had issued a bull condemning astrology, Gallucci urges the pope to endow an astronomical observatory. Gallucci argued for the legitimate use of astrology in medicine, while warning physicians not to be overly reliant on it. "Theatrum Mundi" found an appreciative audience, and was reprinted in 1589 and 1603, with a Spanish translation appearing in 1606 and going to three editions. Giovanni Paolo Gallucci (1538 - ca. 1621) worked as a private tutor for the scions of noble families in Venice, and was a founding member of the Second Venetian Academy. He was also the author of works on astronomical instruments, and was among the first to describe the proportional compass. Our first edition is uncommon, with OCLC and USTC finding just five copies in U.S. libraries, and it is especially rare in genuinely fine condition: when copies appear, they are almost always in unappetizing condition, with the volvelles frequently gone, damaged, repaired, or in facsimile. Some of the movable parts here are printed more darkly (and occasionally more lightly) than the stationary part of the woodcuts that serve as background (which themselves vary widely in strength of printing), but all appear to be on early paper, they all resemble the variations in printing seen in the images of copies we have examined, and they all seem to us to be entirely genuine. (ST15380)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST 10.013