"Coeli Stellati Christiani Haemisphaerium Prius", Cellarius/Schenk & Valck
Period: 1708 (circa)
Publication: Harmonia Macrocosmica
Color: Hand Color
20 x 17 inches
50.8 x 43.2 cm
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 stunning and uncommon celestial chart presents the constellations according to Christian symbolism. It is based on the work of the early 17th century astronomer, Julius Schiller, who sought to replace the traditional pagan symbols with ones derived from Judeo-Christian sources. Specifically, Schiller replaced the zodiacal constellations with the twelve apostles, the constellations north of the zodiac by figures from the New Testament and the constellations south of the zodiac by figures from the Old Testament. Instead of being projected from the pole, the map is centered on the vernal equinox and the ecliptic bisects the map instead of encircling it. On this chart, Gemini has been replaced by James (Jacobus), son of Zebedee; Cancer by St. John; Leo by St. Thomas; Virgo by St. James (Jacobus) the Less; Libra by St. Phillip; and Scorpio by St. Bartholomew. Abraham and Isaac have replaced the constellation Centauri, Noah's Ark has fittingly taken the place of the Argonaut, and King David has replaced the constellation Canis minor. This is one of the most unusual charts in the Cellarius compendium.
References: Kanas #7.1.2; Warner p. 54, 1C; Whitfield p. 93.
Sharp impression and lovely original color. Some minor oxidation cracks have been professionally reinforced with tissue on verso.