Catalog Archive
Auction 187, Lot 52

Decorative Chart Depicting Tycho Brahe's Model of the Universe

"Planisphaerium Braheum, sive Structura Mundi Totius, Ex Hypothesi Tychonis Brahei in Plano Descriptio", Cellarius, Andreas

Subject: Solar System

Period: 1661 (circa)

Publication: Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica

Color: Hand Color

20.4 x 16.6 inches
51.8 x 42.2 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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.

A handsome chart depicting Tycho Brahe's model of the universe. Brahe, a Danish nobleman and astronomer, proposed a unique system of the universe based on the philosophical reasonings of the Ptolemaic system and the geometrical reasonings of the Copernican system. In Brahe's geo-heliocentric system, the sun and the moon orbited the earth, while the remaining planets revolved around the sun. This chart depicts Brahe's model encircled by the twelve signs of the zodiac. The drape-style title cartouche is held aloft by putti, while below astronomers and their students study celestial and terrestrial globes bearing numerous instruments. Tycho Brahe's portrait appears at bottom right, with his famous Uraniborg observatory on the island of Hven in Oresund behind him.

References: Kanas, pp. 191-94; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #HM06:1.

Condition: B

A fine impression on a lightly toned sheet backed with archival tissue to repair chipping in the blank margins and a few edge tears that enter the engraved image. There is some extraneous creasing around the centerfold and light soiling, much of it confined to the margins.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,750

Sold for: $1,100

Closed on 4/27/2022