Catalog Archive
Auction 150, Lot 54

Cellarius' Chart of an Earth-Centric Solar System

"Orbium Planetarum Terram Complectentium Scenographia", Cellarius/Schenk & Valck

Subject: Solar System

Period: 1708 (published)

Publication: Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica

Color: Hand Color

19.7 x 16.9 inches
50 x 42.9 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 lovely chart depicts earth at the center of the Universe, based on Cellarius' model of the solar system. The earth is depicted at center, showing the majority of both the western and eastern hemispheres, surrounded by the concentric rings of an armillary sphere. The rings represent the sun, moon, planets, celestial equator (or equinoctial ring), and the signs of the zodiac. In the bottom corners are diagrams of the solar systems according to Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe. The surrounding background is filled with clouds, putti and windheads.

References: Kanas, p. 191-94; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #HM03:1.

Condition: B+

A nice impression with attractive color and a few centerfold separations and a 2" tear adjacent to the centerfold at bottom that have all been professionally repaired. Trimmed to neatlines and expertly remargined on all sides with old, period correct paper.

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,900

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 9/17/2014