Andreas Cellarius. Theoria Solis... Amsterdam, 1708

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Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Theoria Solis Per Eccentricum Sine Epicyclo
From Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica
Published Amsterdam, 1708
Engraving with original hand color
Paper size: 20 x 23 3/4" 

Fine example of this celestial chart illustrating the Sun's orbit around the Earth.

Cellarius's chart illustrates the Ptolemaic theory of the Sun's orbit around the Earth. It attempts to explain the differences between the interval from the Autumnal equinox to the Vernal equinox (187 days) and the interval from the Vernal equinox to the Autumnal equinox (178 days). It shows the Sun's orbit around Earth in an off-center eccentric orbit. The line labeled Aequinoctialis seu Colurus Aequinoctiorium runs left to right through the center of Earth, with less of the Sun's orbit below than above this line, accounting for a shorter inter-equinox transit.

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.