Auction 139, Lot 64

"Planisphaerium Arateum sive Compages Orbium Mundanorum ex Hypothesi Aratea in Plano Expressa", Cellarius/Schenk & Valck

Subject: Solar System

Period: 1708 (circa)

Publication: Harmonia Macrocosmica…

Color: Hand Color

20.8 x 17.5 inches
52.8 x 44.5 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 celestial chart is based on the theories of the 3rd century Greek astronomer, Aratus, in which the Earth is at the center of the celestial universe with the Sun and Moon orbiting around it. The orbits of the planets are shown with the twelve signs of the zodiac and their human representations depicted around the edge of the sphere, with additional illustrations of principal Greek gods and goddesses. The title cartouche is split into two banners held aloft by putti. At bottom are scenes of scientists studying the earth and sky with several terrestrial and celestial globes.

References: Kanas, p. 191-94.

Condition: B+

Lovely color with wide margins and a few small cracks caused by the oxidation of the original green pigment.

Estimate: $1,600 - $2,000

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 2/15/2012