Michael Korey and the research on the “Baldewein clock” at SISFA – Perugia 2022

An email message from Michael Korey:


Dear colleagues,

I’d like to extend my thanks to you and all the other participants for giving me the chance to present some of my research at your meeting in Perugia today (Sep. 28, 2022). I very much enjoyed the conversations I had afterwards, and I wish I had the opportunity to listen to other talks this week.

Since a number of you asked for more information, I’d like to announce that my colleague and I recently published an introductory book on the imposing planetary clock held at the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (MPS) in Dresden. It appears to be the first extensive presentation in English on this early-modern astronomical masterpiece:


Michael Korey & Samuel Gessner
with illustrations by Claudia Bergmann,
The Wondrous Course of the Planets:
A Heavenly Machine for Elector August of Saxony
(Dresden, 2022; 52 pp.)


One of the most ingenious and beautiful machines of the Renaissance, the so-called “Baldewein clock” was made for Elector August of Saxony between 1563 and 1568 and formed a key part of what I spoke about in the first half of my talk. This richly illustrated book offers an accessible introduction to the Ptolemaic models of the heavens underlying the clock, explains what the clock displays on its dials, and invites the curious reader to engage with a masterpiece of art, science, and craft.

Fig.: Astronomical Clock, Eberhard Baldewein et al., Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (MPS) in Dresden, 1563-1568, www.skd.museum  ∙  https://store.skd.museum


As a teaser, here are a few pages from the book; the book also points to suggestions for further reading.

Those interested are welcome to request a copy via the following address, and to include a postal address for shipping: dresdenschloss@buchhandlung-walther-koenig.de

The cost is € 8.95 plus postage; all proceeds go to support the educational activities of the MPS. The book cannot be purchased through the usual channels, as it is partly the result of the experimental cameo exhibition focusing on the clock and its interpretation and was produced under a grant scheme. It is available directly at the museum in separate English and German editions – and now copies can also be acquired by contacting the bookstore Walther König in the Palace in Dresden at the above address.

One final note: thanks to a grant from the German Federal Commissioner for Culture, we’ve been able to produce the educational app BEHIND THE STARS. It’s available free for smartphones and tablets, both for iOS and Android devices, and offers an introduction to naked-eye astronomy using a selection of interactive, digitized early modern instruments from the MPS. We’ll be launching it later in the Fall, but it’s already available in a preliminary version now – we’re currently adding an interactive astrolabe and a ‘workshop mode’ for group instruction using the app – so that we’d very much welcome questions and suggestions for improvement before the official launch. Thanks!


Best wishes,


Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon

Dr. Michael Korey

Oberkonservator  Senior Curator

Zwinger  01067 Dresden

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