Andreas Cellarius. Typus Aspectuum.... Amsterdam, 1708

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Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Typus Aspectuum Oppositionum coniunctionum etzin Planetis
From Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica
Published Amsterdam, 1708
Engraving with original hand color
Paper size: 20 x 23 3/4" 

The presence of this chart in an otherwise science-based work is evidence that astrology was not seen entirely incompatible with science in the latter part of the 17th century. The chart depicts the primary astrological signs in border of the circle, while the network of lines delineate various relationships between the signs in terms of the four humors-- melancholia, cholicus, etc. In the center is a map of the northern hemisphere, which perhaps is meant to further connect personality traits to geographic areas.

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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