The portrait first appeared in Galileo’s book on the sunspots and was later reprinted. It shows him at the height of his reputation. On the frame he is referred to as a member of the Lincean Academy and philosopher and mathematician to the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Cosimo II de’ Medici). The two cherubs above hold instruments used and perfected by Galileo for his studies and experiments: on the left, the military compass or sector; and on the right, the telescope.
The Medicean Planets was the name given to the moons of Jupiter which Galileo discovered with his telescope in 1610. This table of observations was made during the months of April and March, 1613, and is a daily record of the positions of the moons relative to Jupiter.
With this book, the author proudly announces himself for the first time as “Galileo Galilei Linceo” --a member of the Lincean Academy, to which he had been elected in 1611. The Lincei was one of the first scientific academies and was founded in Rome in 1603 by Duke Federico Cesi. The lynx for which the academy was named was famous for its sharp eyesight and symbolized the ability of the new science to see more deeply into the secrets of nature. It appears on the title page surrounded by a wreath, probably of laurel, and surmounted by a crown, probably that of the Cesi family.