If you find yourself with time to spare at Grand Central Station in New York, take a few moments to look at the amazing astronomical ceiling over the main concourse. Conceived by the architect and by French artist Paul Cesar Helleu it is an astonishing feat of craftmanship and design. There are two peculiarities to this ceiling: the sky is backwards, and the stars are slightly displaced. One explanation is that the constellations are backwards because the ceiling is based on a medieval manuscript that visualised the sky as it would look to God from outside the celestial sphere. According to this explanation, since the celestial sphere is an abstraction (stars are not all at equal distances from Earth), this view does not correspond to the actual view from anywhere in the universe. The stars are displaced because the manuscript showed a (reflected) view of the sky in the Middle Ages, and since then the stars shifted due to precession of the equinoxes. Most people, however, simply think that the image was reversed by accident. The ceiling was deliberately painted in reverse by the artist Giovanni Smeraldi.
When the Vanderbilt family, who commisiioned and owned the station, learned the ceiling was painted backwards, they maintained that the ceiling reflected God's view of the sky.