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Heresy: The Maps that Redefined Heaven and Earth

Heresy: The Maps that Redefined Heaven and Earth is our selection of celestial and terrestrial maps that epitomize the power of the Art of Discovery. These are handsome and endlessly fascinating works of art to live with.

Gerard Mercator's revisualization of the wider world that was discovered, voyage by voyage, during the 16th century contradicted Europeans' long-held beliefs of their place in the world. Copernicus' astronomy and heliocentric theory challenged their central place in the universe.

Against this backdrop of profound questions about the natural order of things, the Pope created the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of Prohibited Books) in 1559. Its early 17th century 'updates' banned Mercator's widely influential 1595 atlas and Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).

Our Perfect Recreations™ of the Mercator Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio and the Cellarius depiction of the Copernican System let us see precisely what our forebears saw and contemplated for the first time during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The 17th century's continuous flood of geographic discoveries led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to accept Mercator's projection of global reality; but it was not until 1822 that the Catholic Church permitted the printing of the book that treated the earth's movement about the sun as physical reality.

Simultaneous with with the era's geographic and scientific discoveries, the art of graphically representing and disseminating these new ideas via engraving and printing was perfected. The 1660 Cellarius Harmonia Macrocosmica is an exquisite work of art that comprehensively expressed the state of scientific knowledge of the heavens. Its spectacular illustrations of Copernican theory, along with those of Ptolemy and Brahe, are perfect examples of the marriage of art and science that charaterizes the Art of Discovery.

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