de la Hire, Phillipe (French, 1640-1718)
Pair of Celestial Maps: Planisphere Celeste Septentrional and Meridional Par Mons De La Hire
19.75in h x 19.75in w
• an important private collection, Far Hills, NJ
Noted Parisian astronomer and member of the Royal Academy of Science, Phillipe de la Hire is best known today for his celestial design charts. Born the son of an eminent painter and art professor, the younger la Hire studied drawing and painting in Venice from 1660 to around 1664. While in Italy, he his interest in geometry was piqued through learning about perspective in art. Upon his return to Paris, la Hire’s focus shifted to mathematics and science, studying under Abraham Bosse who had studied under Girard Desagues. La Hire’s renown spread with the publication of important treatises on conic sections. In 1705 la Hire published the present celestial planispheres, or circular maps of the stars and constellations of the Septentrional (Northern) and Meridional (Southern) hemispheres, which were reproduced and distributed through the well-known publishing house of engraver Nicolas de Fer, one of France’s most important cartographers.