Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 52

"Theoria Solis per Eccentricum sine Epicyclo", Cellarius, Andreas

Subject: Solar System, Sun

Period: 1660 (circa)

Publication: Harmonia Macrocosmica

Color: Hand Color

20.5 x 17.3 inches
52.1 x 43.9 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

The Dutch-German mathematician and cosmographer Andreas Cellarius is best known for his spectacular celestial atlas, the Harmonia Macrocosmica. His atlas contained a description of ancient and contemporary astronomy including the theories of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe. The atlas was illustrated with twenty-nine engraved plates that are among the most beautiful celestial charts ever made. The charts include illustrations of the heavens and diagrams of the orbits of the Sun, Moon, and planets according to the different cosmological theories. They were richly adorned with elaborate cartouches and baroque elements such as putti in clouds, shells, garlands, as well as portraits of famous astronomers and astronomical instruments. The Harmonia Macrocosmica was published in 1660, and reissued in 1661 by the Amsterdam publisher Johannes Jansson as a supplement to his Atlas Novus. The plates were reissued again in 1708 by the Amsterdam publishers Gerard Valk and Petrus Schenk.

This fascinating chart illustrates the Ptolemaic theory of the Sun's orbit around the Earth. It attempts to explain the differences between the interval from the autumnal equinox to the vernal equinox (187 days) and the interval from the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox (178 days). It shows the Sun's orbit around Earth in an off-center eccentric orbit. The line labeled Aequinoctialis seu Colurus Aequinoctiorium runs left to right through the center of Earth, with less of the Sun’s orbit below than above this line, accounting for a shorter inter-equinox transit. Engraved by Joannes van Loon.

References: Kanas 7.1.2.

Condition: B

A small worm track at lower centerfold, affecting 1 1/2" of the chart has been repaired and the map is backed with light Japanese tissue. The old color is slightly faded.

Estimate: $950 - $1,200

Sold for: $950

Closed on 12/2/2009