Nicolaus Copernicus, 1822
Plaster. 277,2 cm
Inventory number: A113
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, Nicolas Copernicus, 1830, bronze cast, Warsaw. Destroyed during the Second World War, but restored and reerected in 1950Enlarge photo
Copernicus was the famous Polish astronomer, who was the first since antiquity to formulate the theory that the sun is the central point of the Universe, around which the planets and thus the Earth revolve. The sphere he is holding in his hand is what is known as an armillary sphere demonstrating the old earth-centred conception of the Universe. It appears that he has been working with it until a moment ago. Meanwhile, he is now putting it aside as he feels attracted by the new astronomical insight he has achieved.