Catalog Archive
Auction 151, Lot 41

Cellarius' Chart of the Sun Rotating Around the Earth

"Solis Circa Orbem Terrarum Spiralis Revolutio", Cellarius, Andreas

Subject: Solar System

Period: 1661 (circa)

Publication: Harmonia Macrocosmica…

Color: Hand Color

19.9 x 16.2 inches
50.5 x 41.1 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 attractive celestial chart depicts a 3-dimensional view of the earth, centered on the eastern hemisphere, surrounded by a band depicting the signs of the zodiac. The chart represents a pre-Copernican view of the relationship between the earth and the sun, in which the sun was believed to rotate around the earth in spiral revolutions. The drape-style title cartouche floats in the sky, with clouds and putti holding birds tethered to ribbons in the background.

References: Kanas, pp. 191-94; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #HM17:1.

Condition: B+

An excellent impression with superb old color, a few small faint spots, and professional repairs to a couple of centerfold separations.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $2,200

Closed on 11/19/2014