Instrumental images: The visual rhetoric of self-presentation in Hevelius's Machina Coelestis

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This article places the famous images of Johannes Hevelius's instruments in his Machina Coelestis (1673) in the context of Hevelius's contested cometary observations and his debate with Hooke over telescopic sights. Seen thus, the images promote a crafted vision of Hevelius's astronomical practice and skills, constituting a careful self-presentation to his distant professional network and a claim as to which instrumental techniques guarantee accurate observations. Reviewing the reception of the images, the article explores how visual rhetoric may be invoked and challenged in the context of controversy, and suggests renewed analytical attention to the role of laboratory imagery in instrumental cultures in the history of science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-243
Number of pages35
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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