Aug 24, 2006

The Angel of the Ninth Sphere (from the Tarocchi, series A: Firmaments of the Universe, #49)

The Angel of the Ninth Sphere (from the Tarocchi, series A: Firmaments of the Universe, #49)

before 1467

Part of a set. See all set records

Master of the E-Series Tarocchi

(Italian, 15th century)


Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.49

Catalogue raisonné: Hind E. I. 49a



This engraving is part of the Tarocchi group marked with the letter “A”, and named Firmaments of the Universe. This series comprises the seven planets from the classical astronomy (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) and the three celestial spheres that separate them from the Supreme Entity (Prima Causa) from which everything was originated.

Here, Primo Mobile (Prime Mover or the Angel of the Ninth Sphere) is personified as a full-length angel, turned to left, and holding up a large sphere in its hands while only standing on its left foot. The Prime Mover corresponds to the ninth and last of the material spheres, beyond the region of the fixed starts. It was believed to be crystalline and invisible, as well as in direct contact with the First Cause—God himself—from which it takes its infinite speed. Thus, it is here shown as an empty disc held by an angel in a dancing pose.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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