Cellarius' Stunning Chart of the Northern Sky
"Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri", Cellarius, Andreas
Period: 1661 (circa)
Publication: Harmonia Macrocosmica
Color: Hand Color
20.4 x 17.1 inches
51.8 x 43.4 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 chart presents the ancient Greek constellations of the northern sky superimposed on a terrestrial Eastern Hemisphere. The planisphere is centered on an ecliptic pole rotated about 20 degrees so that Europe appears approximately at center and portions of North America are visible. To the northeast is America Septentrionalis with several coastal place names. Portions of Canada, labeled Nova Brittannia, Nova Francia, and Nova Terra, can be seen to the northwest. A heavily shaded Australia appears in the far southwest. The hemisphere is supported at either side by Hercules and Atlas, with ancient villagers and buildings behind them. At top the drape-style title cartouches are held aloft by winged angels with trumpets, while putti and windheads float in the cloud background.
References: Kanas, p. 191-94; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #HM26:1.
A fine impression with attractive old color. There are professional repairs to several short centerfold separations and to a tear that extends from the edge of the sheet at right to Canis Minor (just above the unicorn's back).