Andreas Cellarius.Coeli Stellati Christiani Haemisphaerium Prius....Amsterdam, 1708

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Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Coeli Stellati Christiani Haemisphaerium Prius
From Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica
Published Amsterdam, 1708
Sheet size: 11/2 x 24 in.
Frame size: 26 1/4 x 30 5/8 in.

Striking celestial map by Andreas Cellarius and later re-issued by Schenk & Valk in 1708.

This spectacular celestial chart presents the constellations according to Christian symbolism. The view of the constellations is based on the work of the early 17th century astronomer, Julius Schiller, who sought to replace the traditional pagan symbols with ones derived from Judeo-Christian sources. Schiller replaced the zodiacal constellations with the twelve apostles, the constellations north of the zodiac by figures from the New Testament and the constellations south of the zodiac by figures from the Old Testament.

Instead of being projected from the pole, the map is centered on the vernal equinox and the ecliptic bisects the map instead of encircling it. The following major constellations are shown as follows:

  • Gemini = James (Jacobus), son of Zebedee
  • Cancer = St. John
  • Leo = St. Thomas
  • Virgo = St. James (Jacobus) the Less
  • Libra = St. Phillip
  • Scorpio = St. Bartholomew
  • Centauri = Abraham and Isaa
  • The Argonaut = Noah's Ark
  • Canis Minor = King David

    Andreas Cellarius was born in 1596 in Neuhausen and educated in Heidelberg. He emigrated to Holland in the early 17th Century and in 1637 moved to Hoorn, where he became the rector of the Latin School. Cellarius' best known work is his Harmonia Macrocosmica, first issued in 1660 by Jan Jansson, as a supplement to Jansson's Atlas Novus. The work consists of a series of Celestial Charts begun by Cellarius in 1647 and intended as part of a two volume treatise on cosmography, which was never issued.

    Cellarius' charts are the most sought after of celestial charts, blending the striking imagery of the golden age of Dutch Cartography with contemporary scientific knowledge. In addition to their lavish aesthetic appeal, the celestial charts of Andreas Cellarius comprise the most sweeping, ambitious project in the history of celestial cartography, one which also illustrates the historical tensions of the time. Cellarius’ maps present the evolution of the field of astronomy from ancient times until his own. In his distinctive visual language, Cellarius portrayed the often-conflicting theories that prevailed. In addition to the relatively obscure notions of Tycho Brahe and Schiller, Cellarius’s charts track the theories of Ptolemy, dating from the 2nd century AD, and Copernicus’s 16th-century challenge to the venerable ancient astronomer.

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