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Astronomy, Diagram, Celestial Chart, Cellarius, Earth in Zodiac Spiral, Antique Print, Amsterdam, 1708


Andreas Cellarius (c. 1596-1665) (after)
Solis Circa Orbem Terrarum Spiralis Revolutio
[Spiral Path of the Sun Around the Earth]
from Harmonia Macrocosmica Seu Atlas Universalis Et Novus, Totius Universi Creati Cosmographiam Generalem, Et Novam Exhibens
Peter Schenk and Gerard Valk, Amsterdam: 1708
Hand-colored engravings
17 x 19.5 inches, border; 19.25 x 23 inches, overall

Diagram of the path of the sun relative to the earth. A central earth globe, showing the Eastern Hemisphere, is encircled by a band decorated with pictorial images representing the constellations of the zodiac. These elements are within a circular frame labeled with the positions of the sun, from Zenith at the top to Nadir at the bottom. The rest of the chart is decorated with images of billowing clouds and four playful putti, two of which hold strings attached to flying birds. This is from Andreas Cellarius’ Harmonia Macrocosmica, the only celestial and astronomical atlas published in the Netherlands during the golden age of Dutch cartography. The 29 cosmological engravings — together a compendium of theories of the universe as of the late 17th century — are richly engraved in the Baroque style, with elaborate decorative classical figures in the banners and four corners of each print. Cellarius illustrated various theories of astronomy, including the Ptolemaic theory (the earth was at the center of the universe), the revolutionary Copernican theory (the sun was at the center of the solar system), and Tycho Brahe’s compromise intermediate theory. The set also contains numerous magnificent constellation charts of the northern and southern hemispheres illustrating star formations in traditional classical mythological and scientific instrument forms, as well as an alternative interpretation of the stars in biblical forms.

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Very little is known about Andreas Cellarius, even though he is considered by many to have produced the most beautiful celestial atlas ever made. Born in Neuhausen, Germany (now known as Worms), Cellarius was educated at the University of Heidelberg. In 1625, he was working as a schoolmaster in Amsterdam. In 1637, he became the rector of the Latin School at Hoorn, Holland, where he remained for the rest of his life. He published works on fortifications and on Poland, but is remembered for Harmonia Macrocosmica, originally issued by Jan Jansson in 1660. The first edition, second issue, is identical except for the change of date to 1661. The Dutch publishers Peter Schenk and Gerard Valk reissued the Cellarius atlas in 1708 with the original copper plates; they are identified by the addition of their imprint in the right side title banner or in the lower center border. The edition of the charts offered here is indicated above; all are from the Schenk and Valk edition except one.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, with only light remaining toning and wear. Vertical centerfold professionally flattened.


“Andreas Cellarius.” Wikipedia. 13 November 2014. (20 November 2014).

Brown, Basil. Astronomical Atlases, Charts and Maps: An Historical and General Guide. London: Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1968. 40-41.

Koeman, Cornelis and van der Krogt, Peter C.J. Atlantes Neerlandici. ‘T Goy-Houten : Westrenen, 1997. 2.

Snyder, George Sergeant. Maps of the Heavens. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984. p. 115.

Additional information


17th Century, 18th Century