Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Frame for Galileo's lens
Frame for Galileo's lens

The ivory frame is carved with floral motifs and images of numerous measuring instruments in the Medici collection, now preserved at the Museo Galileo of Florence. At the top was a ribbon, now missing, with the inscription "MEDICEA SIDERA" [Medici stars]. At the bottom was a model of the universe encircled by the inscription "CLARA DEUM SOBOLES MAGNUM IOVIS INCREMENTUM" [Bright generation of the Gods, great enrichment of Jupiter]. A ribbon runs all along the frame with the inscription "HIC ET PRIMUS RETEXIT MACULAS PHEBI ET IOVIS ASTRA" [He first discovered the spots on Phebus (i.e., the Sun) and Jupiter's stars]. A cartouche is inscribed "COELUM LINCEAE GALILEI MENTI APERTUM VITREA PRIMA HAC MOLE NONDUM VISA OSTENDIT SYDERA MEDICEA IURE AB INVENTORE DICTA SAPIENS NEMPE DOMINATUR ET ASTRIS" [The sky opened by the lynx-like thought of Galileo with this first glass lens showed stars never seen before, rightly called Medicean by their discoverer. The wise man indeed dominates the stars as well.]. Below the cartouche appears we can read "VC," the signature of the engraver, Vittorio Crosten.