Andreas Cellarius (ca 1596-1665). Harmonia Macrocosmica seu Atlas Universalis et Novus. 1708
Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et Novus
Published by Amsterdam:Pieter Schenk and Gerald Valk, 1708., 1708
Folio (20 x 12 3/8 inches). Letterpress title-page printed in red and black with woodcut vignette, duplicate letterpress title-page (top edge strengthened with archival tissue). Additional engraved allegorical title-page by F.H. van Hoven, 29 double-page engraved cosmographical charts, all with EXCEPTIONALLY FINE ORIGINAL HAND-COLOUR IN FULL, the borders light grisaille. Contemporary panelled sheep (rebacked to style, one or two surface abrasions, corners strengthened, later endpapers). Second edition, first published in 1660. In this edition the plates are unaltered from the first edition, except for the addition of the imprint "Prostant Amstelaedami apud Petrum Schenk, et Geradum Valk. C.P." In addition to their lavish aesthetic appeal, the 29 double-page celestial charts of Cellarius' "Harmonia macrocosmica", 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. Cellarius' project was not devoid of political motivation. Up to his time of artistic activity, the Netherlands had been the unquestioned center of scientific discovery, and Dutch mapmakers had reigned supreme above all others. In the early 18th century, Louis XV of France sought to bring his country to the forefront of science, and by association, to imply political dominance. His efforts led to great competition between France and the Netherlands, and Cellarius' sweeping project was an attempt to thwart French attempts completely. In some cases, Cellarius incorporated French elements into his maps, like acanthus leaves which can be seen often on French furniture of the period. In this way, he attempted to use French visual elements more skillfully than they themselves could. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Dutch cartographers reigned supreme in their field. Cellarius' work remains a landmark of the Golden Age of Exploration, combining great artistic beauty with scientific documentation. The vibrant hues, spanning the color spectrum, give amazing animation to the images, and the skies appear to come alive with bright figures. Andreas Cellarius was born in Neuhausen, a small town near Worms in Germany. From 1625 to 1637 he worked as a schoolmaster in Amsterdam and later The Hague, and in 1637 moved to Hoorn, where Cellarius was appointed to be the rector of the Latin School. Koeman IV Cel 3.