The large-scale structure of the Universe before the 20th century
Abstract: The structure, formation, and evolution of the Universe were some of the main topics in the scientific debates during the early modern period in Europe. In this talk I present an overview of the evolution of concepts about large-scale structure of the Universe in Europe from the 16th century to the beginnings of the 20th century. This involves giving a brief account of several milestones within the gradual definition of pre-galactic systems: the historical role of the tradition of the plurality of worlds, the significance of Descartes, and the introduction of the Milky Way and nebulae in the discourses around the cosmic structure. These ideas concerned aspects that were not considered before so emphatically and were fundamental for the future development of astronomy, representing a novel paradigm on the cosmos. Since I am specialized in the visual history of astronomy, some aspects of the collaboration between scientists and artists will be emphasized.