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Ficino’s Painted Heavens:

Astrological Ceiling
Programs in 15th and 16th
Century Italy
NOAH DUBAY
Bowdoin College, Class of 2019

ABSTRACT

The practices of astrology and astronomy, seen then as indistinguishable,


were undeniably influential in the Renaissance revival of classical antiquity
in Italy, especially to the aristocratic ruling class, who often used astrological
birth charts to determine dates and times for important events in their lives.
In addition to their own personal information, Italian aristocrats also
consulted the writers of astronomers and philosophers in their daily affairs,
including the designs of the art and architecture in their palaces. However,
the karmic energy of the stars was a double-edged sword; in the same way it
could be used to bring good luck and prosperity to those wielding it, it could
also cause harm to their rivals or nemeses. Focusing specifically on the
Sienese banker Agostino Chigi and the Medici family, this paper seeks to
explore the ways these patrons combined important biographical dates and
times with the writings of Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino in order to
depict the heavens in the vaults of religious and secular spaces, as well as the
possible intents and purposes raised by pre-existing scholarship in their
choice of these intentionally complex themes and designs.

Along with the revival of ancient art, architecture, and philosophy that
accompanied the Humanist movement during the Italian Renaissance came
2

the resurgence of the ancient studies of astronomy and astrology, which at


the time were equally valid and not seen as separate practices. Much like
how one can read their weekly horoscope online or printed in a newspaper
today, one’s zodiac sign and birth chart were seen as incredibly influential in
one’s life and those who were able to do so made appointments with
professional astrologers, as one today would make an appointment with a
doctor or therapist, to have a birth chart, or geniture, drawn up (figure 1).
Unlike our modern horoscopes, there was much more to a geniture than
simply naming one’s which sign the Sun was in at one’s birth. Genitures,
which served as schematic maps of the sky at the time of one’s birth, were
labelled with the symbols for the zodiacal signs and divided into zones,
referred to as houses, and the locations of the seven “planets,” the Sun, the
Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, were marked out. Not
only did each of these “planets” represent different traits of one’s spirit and
different areas of one’s life, but where they were in the sky and where they
were in relation to each other held different meanings as well. Circular
aspect charts, also labelled with the zodiacal signs, helped with the last part,
plotting in which sign each planet was located and noting the angles of the
lines that joined them (figure 2). Astrologers used all of this information, as
well as biographical information included by the client, to create
personalized horoscopes and answer clients’ questions about their future.1
The astrologer Marsilio Ficino published one of his most famous
works regarding the subject, De vita libri tres, or Three Books on Life, in
1489, in which he articulated the power of the planets and the stars and
proposed using astrology for medical and talismanic purposes. In his third
book, he instructed the proper way of depicting the heavens and suggested
one should “construct a chamber, vaulted and marked with these figures and

1
Anthony Grafton, Cardano’s Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 23-26.
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colors, and he should spend most of his waking hours there and also sleep.”2
This is part of his greater claim that the heavens, real and painted, radiate
energy that is in turned absorbed by the viewer not only by looking, but by
simply being in their presence. While the heavens generally radiated positive
energy, one could change what kind of energy was being radiated depending
on how the heavens were depicted for apotropaic purposes. By using the
position of the stars and planets in one’s own geniture or those of another
important date, a patron could have the heavens painted as to send positive
energy specifically to themselves and their close friends and family and send
negative energy to those who were against the patron while they were in the
presence of the image. Since talismans work best when their subject is
unaware of their presence, painted programs of one’s horoscope tended to
be intentionally difficult to read, both to make its presence unknown and to
encourage looking from the viewers, which in turn led to more absorption of
the image’s energy.3 Using three astrological ceiling programs, the dome
above the altar of the Old Sacristy in San Lorenzo in Florence, the ceiling of
the Sala di Galatea in the Villa Farnesina in Rome, and the dome of the Chigi
Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, I aim to examine how
Renaissance astrological ceiling painting connects to the writings of Ficino
and to contemporary astrological practices at large.
The Old Sacristy in San Lorenzo was designed and built by architect
Filippo Brunelleschi for Cosimo de’ Medici, with construction largely
finished by 1428. As per Brunelleschi’s typical attention to detail, every
aspect of the Sacristy can be measured in simple shapes and proportions,
and many of the numbers of these proportions tie back to descriptions of the

2
Ficino 3.19, De vita libri tres, trans. Carol V. Kaske & John R. Clark (Binghamton: State
University of New York at Binghamton, 1989), 347.
3
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013), 165-168.
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heavens included in the Bible.4 Above the altar, painted on the inside of the
dome, is a fresco that depicts the heavenly sphere (figure 3). The curving
lines of longitude and latitude in the fresco counteract the concavity of the
dome, creating the illusion of an actual sphere with twelve hours of the sky
visible. While there has yet to be a definitive answer as to who has painted
the fresco, Leon Battista Alberti, because of his involvement with the Medici
circle and because of his technical skills in illusionistic drawing, seems to be
the most likely to have done it, perhaps working with an assistant, though
the fresco is often attributed to Giuliano Pesello.5 It may seem odd now to
have an astrological-themed fresco in a Roman Catholic church, but it was
logical in context. Since late antiquity, the vault of a Christian church had
been seen as a coelum, the Latin word used to refer to ‘the sky’ or ‘the
heavens,’ and was decorated to appear as such, meaning that a fresco of the
night sky would not be out of place in the Old Sacristy.6 In addition to this,
Cosimo de’ Medici and those in his social circle had great knowledge in the
fields of hermetic Humanism and Neoplatonism, so it would be more than
reasonable for Cosimo to take advantage of the concept of the coelum to
request that such a fresco be painted in the Old Sacristy.7
Instead of containing a generic night sky, however, the artist of the
fresco chose to paint the constellations in specific positions relating to a
specific date, though scholars have disagreed on which one. In 1911, Aby
Warburg was the first to put forward this hypothesis, suggesting that the
date depicted was July 9, 1422, the date of the consecration of the main

4
Gabriel Blumenthal, “The Science of the Magi: The Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo and the
Medici,” Notes in the History of Art 6, no. 1 (1986): 1-3.
5
James Beck, “Leon Battista Alberti and the ‘Night Sky’ at San Lorenzo,” Artibus et Historiae
10, no. 19 (1989): 9-13.
6
Brown, Patricia Fortini, “Laetentur Caeli: The Council of Florence and the Astrological Fresco
in the Old Sacristy,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 44 (1981): 177.
7
Blumenthal, “The Science of the Magi,” 1.
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altar, however most scholars today believe that date is too early.8 The most
commonly accepted date currently is July 6, 1439 at noon, which is when the
Council of Florence concluded, nearly ending the East-West schism of the
Church,9 but modern Florentine scholars have suggested a date of July 4 or
5, 1442.10 Pushing aside the issue of which date the fresco represents, as well
of the issue of when exactly the fresco was painted, the inclusion of a specific
date ties back to astrological practices. Before making an important
decision, clients could ask astrologers to consult their genitures and figure
out which dates were favorable and which were not, and it is likely that this
could have played a role in the date depicted in the fresco.11 The fresco also
relates to Marsilio Ficino’s writings about the apotropaic power of the image
of one’s horoscope, and it is possible that Cosimo de’ Medici may have
wanted a specific date included in the fresco for good luck. While De vita
libri tres would not be published until 1489, Ficino was a Florentine and
connected to the Medici family, meaning vaults like the ones in the Old
Sacristy could have very well influenced his writings on the subject.12
The Villa Farnesina, known as the Villa Chigi until the Cardinal
Alessandro Farnese’s acquisition of the property in 1579,13 was
commissioned by Agostino Chigi, a Sienese banker who was considered the
richest man in Rome at this time, and built by the Sienese architect and
painter Baldassare Peruzzi in the years of 1506 to 1511.14 Chigi intended the
villa, which was built from a Vitruvian plan just outside the walls of Rome,
8
Jean Seznec. La Survivance des dieux antiques, trans. Barbara F. Sessions (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1953), 77.
9
Brown, “Laetentur Caeli,” 177.
10
Beck, “Leon Battista Alberti and the ‘Night Sky’ at San Lorenzo,” 14.
11
Grafton, Cardano’s Cosmos, 37.
12
Kaske, introduction to De vita libri tres, trans. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Binghamton:
State University of New York at Binghamton, 1989), 17-19.
13
Ingrid D. Rowland, “Render Unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s: Humanism and the
Arts in the Patronage of Agostino Chigi,” Renaissance Quarterly 39, no. 4 (1986): 728.
14
Dieter Blume, “Picturing the Stars: Astrological Imagery in the Latin West,” in A Companion to
Astrology in the Renaissance, ed. Brendan Dooley (Leiden, Netherlands:
Brill, 2014), 380.
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to serve as “a business office, a residence for the banker and his


descendants, and a place to hold lavish entertainments.”15 Fully immersed in
the Humanist circle, which included the Medici family and Pope Julius II
(della Rovere), Chigi was often compared to Augustus by poets and, fittingly,
decorated his villa from top to bottom with ancient mythological stories.16
One of the prominent rooms on the first floor, meaning it would have likely
been seen by friends and clients of Chigi, is the Sala di Galatea, named after
Raphael’s famous frescoes of the sea nymph Galatea and the cyclops
Polyphemus, which contains an incredibly complex astrological fresco on its
vault also by Peruzzi (figure 4). This fresco, dated to 1511, was painted
twenty-two years after the publication of Ficino’s De vita libri tres, and
follows much of Ficino’s advice on how to properly depict the heavens.
Ficino mentions that there are “three colors of the world” which
represent the “three Heavenly graces”: green, dedicated to Venus, gold,
dedicated to the Sun, and sapphire-blue, dedicated to Jupiter. He goes on to
suggest that one should “look at these particular colors above all” in order to
“capture the gifts” of these graces, and that one’s chamber vault should be
“marked with these figures and colors.”17 These colors can be seen all
throughout the fresco, most notably in the brilliant blue and gold of the sky
and stars, as well as the green and gold decorating its illusionistic “marble”
frames. Ficino also mentions the importance of “Aries, Taurus, and similar
zodiacal figures, and… those outside the zodiac which we can see,” all of
which are present within the fresco, though the meaning of their
arrangement has yet to be fully discovered.18
Peruzzi split the ceiling of the Sala di Galatea into twenty-six
segments: ten hexagons, containing the signs of the zodiac (with two paired

15
Rowland, “Render Unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s,” 683.
16
Ibid., 692.
17
Ficino 3.19, De vita libri tres, 347.
18
Ficino 3.18, De vita libri tres, 333.
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sets in order to fit all twelve), fourteen extra-zodiacal constellations against


triangular gold grounds, and two center panels containing two more extra-
zodiacal constellations. Included within the zodiacal signs, represented
using figures and symbols from ancient mythology as opposed to the more
standard signs and symbols, are the seven planets, represented as the
ancient gods they are named for. Knowing Chigi’s hometown is Siena, the
position of these planets with the zodiac can be connected to a specific date:
November 29, 1466, the day Chigi was born. The neatly geometric
segmentation of the vault appears as the elongated shape of an astrological
geniture, which Chigi would have consulted in order to find the position of
his planets, with the central panels standing in for the central square of the
geniture, containing the individual’s name and birth details, and the
surrounding constellation panels standing in for the triangular houses of the
geniture, though the fresco contains far more than twelve segments. While
not an exact match, and likely not intended to be, both genitures and the
vault in the Sala di Galatea contain clearly separated and symmetrical
shapes and proportions that tie back to Renaissance Humanistic art and
theory.
The depictions of fourteen extra-zodiacal constellations on a gold
background correspond to symbolic representations described by the
Roman astronomer Hyginus in his text De astronomica, which in turn refers
back to the Greek poet Aratus.19 The constellations – the Lyre, the Arrow,
the Dolphin, the Bird, the Horse, the River, the Crater, the Hydra, the Dog,
the Ship, the Northern Crown, the Triangle, the Charioteer, and the Altar –
may have been a random choosing of constellations, since not all of the
extra-zodiacal constellations are present, to schematically represent the
night sky at large,20 or, as Mary Quinlan-McGrath has suggested, the first

19
Blume, “Picturing the Stars,” 381.
20
Lippincott, Kristen. “Two Astrological Ceilings Reconsidered: The Sala di Galatea in the Villa
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eleven constellations may have been chosen because they are the
paranatellonta, or rising constellations, associated with Virgo, which she
believes is Chigi’s Ascendant sign, or the zodiacal constellation that was
rising into the sky at the time of his birth.21 This, however, is dependent on
Chigi’s time of birth. Chigi’s time of birth, written by his father in the
Sienese baptistery registry, is listed as November 29, 1466 “a ore 21½,” or
“at 21½ hours,” which can mean different things depending on when one
begins counting the hours of the day.22 Quinlan-McGrath, citing the
astronomical and astrological timing as typically counting from midnight,
suggests Chigi’s time of birth was 9:30 PM, putting Chigi’s Ascendant sign
on the cusp of Virgo23, whereas Kristen Lippincott, citing the “local Sienese
tradition” of counting from the sunset of the previous day, suggests a time of
3:00 PM, putting Chigi’s Ascendant sign in the middle of Taurus.24 These
two times have led to two different interpretations of the two central panels
of the fresco. The panel on the left contains the constellation Perseus,
represented by Perseus right before he cuts off the head of Medusa,
accompanied by a personification of Fame blowing a horn to celebrate his
triumph over the gorgon. On the right, a nymph, either Helice or Cynosura,
driving a chariot represents the constellation of Ursa Major or Ursa Minor,
respectively. Using the time of birth of 9:30 PM, Quinlan-McGrath suggests
that these two panels represent the the meridian over Siena at the time of
Chigi’s birth, defined by two stars: Algol, the head of Medusa in Perseus, and
Cynosura, the North Star, found in Ursa Minor.25 Lippincott, however, using

Farnesina and the Sala del Mappamondo at Caprarola,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld
Institutes 53 (1990): 92.
21
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, “The Villa Farnesina, Time-Telling Conventions and Renaissance
Astrological Practice,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 58 (1995): 67-68.
22
Ingrid D. Rowland, “The Birth Date of Agostino Chigi: Documentary Proof,” Journal of the
Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 47 (1984): 192-193.
23
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, “The Villa Farnesina,” 61.
24
Lippincott, “Two Astrological Ceilings Reconsidered,” 193.
25
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, Influences, 176.
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the 3:00 PM time of birth with Chigi’s Ascendant sign in Taurus, suggests
that the constellation Perseus is a paranatellonton of Taurus important to
Chigi, due to Perseus’s nobility.26
Regardless of the uncertainty of these particularities, the sheer
complexity of the vault’s program supports Ficino’s suggestion that a man
should construct a vaulted chamber and “spend most of his waking hours”
under his depiction of the heavens. Most of the information needed to
determine that the fresco represents Agostino Chigi’s geniture is not visually
apparent, but must be sought out, relating to Ficino’s remark that one
should not “simply look” at the painted heavens, but “reflect upon it in the
mind.”27 The use of a horoscope also ties back to Ficino’s ideas regarding the
apotropaic power of the stars and planets, and the intense complexity of the
vault’s program, which continues to stump scholars to this day, may relate to
Ficino’s assertion that a talisman is most powerful when its subject is not
aware of its presence. Due to the villa’s double purpose as a residence and
business office, many people would have stood under the vault of the Sala di
Galatea, pondering its meaning, and, depending on if they were a friend or a
foe, picking up the positive or negative energies being radiated by the
heavens in the fresco, and it is likely that Chigi had the fresco painted to
bring good luck to himself and his business.
Soon after the completion of the Villa Farnesina in 1511, work began
on Agostino Chigi’s mortuary chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo, designed by
Raphael Sanzio and completed in 1513, though decoration remained
unfinished in 1520, the year of Raphael and Chigi’s deaths, and was only
completed by the early 1550s.28 Inside the cupola of the dome, instead of a
fresco of the night sky like the one seen in the Old Sacristy in San Lorenzo,

26
Lippincott, “Two Astrological Ceilings Reconsidered,” 195.
27
Ficino 3.19, De vita libri tres, 347.
28
John Shearman, “The Chigi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo,” Journal of the Warburg and
Courtauld Institutes 24, no. 3/4 (1961): 129-131.
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there is an astrological mosaic program, ornamented with gilt ribs and


coffers, completed by Raphael in 1516 (figure 5). In the center, standing
above an illusionistic “oculus” is God, displaying his command over the
heavens, represented by the seven planets in order, shown as the ancient
gods they represent and with schematic zodiacal symbols, as well as the
“Eighth Sphere,” all of which are accompanied by angels. This “Eighth
Sphere” is depicted s a sphere of stars between Mercury and Venus so that
Jupiter, seen as the most important god, is opposite the entrance of the
chapel, putting him directly in the sight line of the entrance.29 While this
program does not contain a specific date or horoscope, the circular
arrangement of the gods and the zodiacal symbols is reminiscent of the
circular aspect chart used by astrologers to determine the angular relations
between the positions of the planets in one’s geniture.
The design of the cupola also owes many of its decorative elements to
an important Roman monument: the Pantheon. The design does not only
visually mimic the monument, but also includes all of the planetary gods,
referring to the original function of the Pantheon, which was a temple
dedicated to all of the Roman gods.30 The subject matter of the program is
not only rooted in a Humanist preoccupation with antiquity, but likely
rooted in the work of Ficino as well. Ficino wrote that the soul, not entirely
governed by free will but not entirely divorced from it, mediates among
various influences, represented by the forces from the planets, of which he
uses the framework of the ancient gods to describe, to achieve balance.31
While these ideas appear in his earlier work, there are mostly absent from
De vita libri tres, possibly to avoid too strong of an association with magic,

29
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, Influences, 171-172.
30
Rowland, “Render Unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s,” 705-706.
31
Bullard, Melissa Meriam, “The Inward Zodiac: A Development in Ficino’s Thought on
Astrology.” Renaissance Quarterly 43, no. 4 (1990): 703.
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which was prohibited at the time.32 The incorporation of the Christian god
and the angels governing the planetary gods into the design can be read as
an attempt on Chigi and Raphael’s part to avoid falling into a similar trap.
However, this is not to imply that God and the guardian angels were
included only to appease the Church, but as a way for Chigi to “connect in
harmony ancient cosmology and the Christian faith” by showing that while
the planets influence man, God influences and reigns over the planets.33
These ideas are also in the text of the Urania, written in the 1470s by
Giovanni Pontano, whose intention in describing God’s power over the
planets was to “integrate the principles of astrology with Christian dogma.”34
Another interpretation of the incorporation of the pagan and the Christian,
set forth by John Shearman, one of the first scholars to study in the chapel
in detail, is that the cupola is the apex of the chapel’s decorative program,
with the zodiac representing the passage of time in eternity and the planets
and God as a schematic representation of “the Realm of the Soul after
Death.”35
In addition to the subject matter of the mosaic, the program’s
inclusion of the Ficinian colors green, blue, and gold, as well as the medium
of mosaic itself, relate back to De vita libri tres. In the third book, Ficino
mentions that the material used for making an image of the heavens
functions like “a mirror, smooth, concave, shining, and shaped like the
heavens” to receive “the celestial gift” of the heavens and in turn “gives it
again to someone who is in the vicinity.”36 It is very fitting, then, that Chigi
chose gilt mosaic tiles to be used for the cupola. Gilt mosaic tiles, made of
glass or crystal and backed with a film of gold, are highly reflective, meaning

32
Carol V. Kaske, “Marsilio Ficino and the Twelve Gods of the Zodiac.” Journal of the Warburg
and Courtauld Institutes 45 (1982): 201.
33
Blume, “Picturing the Stars,” 335.
34
Seznec, La Survivance des dieux antiques, 83.
35
Shearman, “The Chigi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo,” 142.
36
Ficino 3.17, De vita libri tres, 333.
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that the image of the heavens in the cupola not only metaphorically reflects
celestial power, but literally reflects the light cast upon it by the eight
windows in the drum of the dome. Lastly, Ficino’s idea that one should
“spend most of their waking hours and also sleep” under an image of the
heavens, which implies that one simply has to be in the presence of the
image to absorb its power, is present here as well.37 Though Chigi is dead,
his body, as well as the bodies of his descendants, lies underneath the cupola
of the chapel, eternally soaking up the metaphorical and literal rays of the
heavens for eternity.
These examples are not intended to represent the entirety of the
tradition of astrological programs, nor do they represent its beginning or its
end. The influence of Marsilio Ficino, the Medici family, and Agostino Chigi
in astrological programs continued for decades. Two notable examples
include the ceiling of the Sala dei Pontifecti in the Vatican, commissioned by
Pope Leo X and painted by Raphael in 1517, which follows the principles of
Ficino as well as the influence of Agostino Chigi, a friend to both Pope Leo X
and Raphael,38 and the wall of the Sala del Mappamondo, also called the
Sala del Cosmografia, located in the Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola,
completed in 1574 and commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the
same man who purchased Chigi’s villa and connected his palazzo to it.39 By
this point in the century, while the works of Ficino were likely still read and
referenced, the most prominent astrologer of the time was Girolamo
Cardano, who wrote and published work on a variety of subjects while he
was alive, as most Humanist scholars did, and whose entire body of work,
Opera omnia, was released in the early seventeenth century, years after his
death.40 The practice of astrology reaches into the present day, but with no

37
Ficino 3.19, De vita libri tres, 347.
38
Mary Quinlan-McGrath, Influences, 180.
39
Rowland, “Render Unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s,” 728.
40
Grafton, Cardano’s Cosmos, 17.
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near the magnitude and validity that it held during the Renaissance and in
antiquity. While it is still possible to create a geniture today, and some
people may wear jewelry of their star signs (though not with the talismanic
intent of Ficino’s writing), all that remains of the Humanist practice of
astrology in mainstream popular culture is a cursory blurb read online or in
the daily newspaper.

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Bibliography

Beck, James. “Leon Battista Alberti and the ‘Night Sky’ at San Lorenzo.”
Artibus et Historiae 10, no. 19 (1989): 9-35.

Blume, Dieter. “Picturing the Stars: Astrological Imagery in the Latin West,”
in A Companion to Astrology in the Renaissance, edited by Brendan
Dooley, 333-398. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2014.

Blumenthal, Gabriel. “The Science of the Magi: The Old Sacristy of San
Lorenzo and the Medici.” Notes in the History of Art 6, no. 1 (1986):
1-11.

Brown, Patricia Fortini. “Laetentur Caeli: The Council of Florence and the
Astrological Fresco in the Old Sacristy,” Journal of the Warburg and
Courtauld Institutes 44 (1981): 176-180.

Bullard, Melissa Meriam. “The Inward Zodiac: A Development in Ficino’s


Thought on Astrology.” Renaissance Quarterly 43, no. 4 (1990): 687-
708.

Ficino, Marsilio. De vita libri tres. Translated as “Three Books on Life” by


Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Binghamton: State University of
New York at Binghamton, 1989.

Grafton, Anthony. Cardano’s Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a


Renaissance Astrologer. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Kaske, Carol V. “Marsilio Ficino and the Twelve Gods of the Zodiac.”
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 45 (1982): 195-202.
Lippincott, Kristen. “Two Astrological Ceilings Reconsidered: The Sala di
Galatea in the Villa Farnesina and the Sala del Mappamondo at
Caprarola.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 53
(1990): 185-207.

Quinlan-McGrath, Mary. Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the


Italian Renaissance. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Quinlan-McGrath, Mary. “The Villa Farnesina, Time-Telling Conventions


and Renaissance Astrological Practice.” Journal of the Warburg and
Courtauld Institutes 58 (1995): 52-71.

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Rowland, Ingrid D. “The Birth Date of Agostino Chigi: Documentary Proof.”


Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 47 (1984): 192-193.

Rowland, Ingrid D. “Render Unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s:
Humanism and the Arts in the Patronage of Agostino Chigi.”
Renaissance Quarterly 39, no. 4 (1986): 673-730.

Seznec, Jean. La Survivance des dieux antiques. Translated as “The Survival


of Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in
Renaissance Humanism and Art” by Barbara F. Sessions. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1953.

Shearman, John. “The Chigi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo.” Journal of the
Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 24, no. 3/4 (1961): 129-160.

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Illustrations

Figure 1: Geniture of Albrecht Dürer from Girolamo Cardano’s Libelli


quinque (Nuremburg: Johannes Petreius, 1547), courtesy of Cambridge
University Library, Cambridge, England

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Figure 2: Aspect chart from Johannes Stöffler and Jacob Pflaum’s Almanach
nova plurimis annis venturis inserventia (Venice: Lucantonio Giunta,
1522), courtesy of Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, Germany

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Figure 3: Leon Battista Alberti (?), astrological fresco in Old Sacristy, late
1430s, San Lorenzo, Florence

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Figure 4: Baldassare Peruzzi, ceiling of Sala di Galatea, 1511, Villa Farnesina,


Rome

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Figure 5: Raphael Sanzio, cupola of Chigi Chapel, 1516, Santa Maria del
Popolo, Rome

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