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Peter Schiller (1947-2013): Astrology and Art

This episode of In Memoriam we are joined by Günther Oestmann to remember historian Peter Franz Schiller (29 November 1947 – 23 January 2013). Born in Düsseldorf, Schiller was musically and artistically talented, his vocation was art history and he studied this subject together with archaeology and philosophy as minor subjects. Catholic theology was added as a double degree course. His scientific œuvre is very narrow. Yet the originality and quality of his scientific work could have paved the way for a brilliant career. His doctoral thesis on the relationship between architecture and astronomy in Andrea Palladio’s work (1985) was already highly original and astute. His lecture on the iconography of the ceiling painting of the Sala di Galatea in the Farnesina in Rome at the conference “The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance” in Wolfenbüttel in 1988, was also very thorough and methodically sound. Schiller presented a precise analysis of the astronomical-astrological parameters and was able to show that the frescoes indeed represent a horoscope scheme and cannot be explained by ancient texts.

(adapted from the obituary by Günther Oestmann)

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