Andreas Cellarius. Scenographia Compagis Mundanae Brahea....Amsterdam, 1708

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Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Scenographia Compagis Mundanae Brahea
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.

Fine example of Cellarius's chart illustrating Tycho Brahe's unique geo-heliocentric model of the universe.

In the late 16th century, Tycho Brahe, an important Danish Astronomer, attempted to reconcile the Aristotelian geo-centric model of the universe favored by early Christian religious doctrine with Copernican models of the Solar System in a unique marriage of 16th Century science and pre-Renaissance Christian doctrine. Brahe postulated that the moon and sun orbited the Earth, whereas the remaining planets revolved around the sun, with the Earth at the center of the universe.

Celarius's projection provides a unique look at the Solar System. Rather than viewing the universe from earth, the view is from the "God" perspective, looking at earth from outside the solar system.

Cellarius illustrates Tycho Brahe's earth/sun-centric model, with the signs of the zodiac ringing the earth and surrounded by allegorical scenes including a celestial globe, classical astronomers working with globes and instruments.

      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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