Andreas Cellarius. Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri....Amsterdam, 1708

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Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri
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.

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.

      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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