Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 61

"Systema Ideale Pyrophylaciorum Subterraneorum, quorum montes…", Kircher, Athanasius

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany

Period: 1682 (published)

Publication: d'Onder-Aardse Weereld

Color: Hand Color

16.3 x 13 inches
41.4 x 33 cm

This unusual copper engraving shows a cross-section of the earth's interior with its magma core. The surface of the earth is shown with erupting volcanoes and ships sailing in the oceans. Clouds and four wind-heads surround the sphere. A decorative title cartouche completes the fanciful composition with a text panel below. The Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was one of the first compilers of semi-scientific knowledge about the physical features of the world. This is from a Dutch edition of Kircher's masterpiece, an immense and amazing work covering all aspects of anything that dwelled or occurred within the earth's interior - from dragons, to fossils, to mountain springs, earthquakes, and volcanoes.


Condition: B+

The image is fine with a strong, early impression and strong color, but with two tiny worm holes visible only when held to the light. Top margin is narrow, as issued, with a couple areas of roughness or chips, but the paper is fine and supple with no brittleness.

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,200

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 6/2/2010