A double hemisphere celestial chart, showing constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres depicted as allegorical figures, animals and scientific instruments. The stars are shown in six degrees of magnitude according to a key in the center between the hemispheres. The selection and style of the constellations followed that of Firmamentum Sociescianum sive Uranographia (1687) by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, whose name is noted in the subtitle of the chart. The subtitle indicates that the chart also draws on the work of Edmund Halley, the British astronomer for whom Halley’s Comet is named.There are numerous variants of this chart published in Germany during the 18th century, which was based on the work of Georg Christoph Eimmart, a Nuremberg astronomer.
The outer borders are decorated with seven inset diagrams against a background of clouds. The lower border shows (from left to right) the illumination of the moon by the sun; planetary models of Tycho Brahe, Ptolemy and Copernicus; and Lansberg’s model of the motion of the earth around the sun. The diagram in the upper right corner shows phases of the moon as viewed from earth, and the simple diagram in the upper left has a Latin inscription that roughly translates as, “God called the light, day. God called the darkness, night.” It also has the notation “Job XXVI, 10,” referring to a Biblical verse stating “He hath described a boundary upon the face of the waters, unto the confines of light and darkness.” These words seems to relate to central illustration above the maps — a bearded male figure with a halo, seated on a cloud and accompanied by putti — apparently representing God and creation.
Various firms in Amsterdam, Nuremberg and Augsburg published double hemisphere constellation charts based on the work of George Eimmart titled Planispaerium Caeleste or Planisphaerium Coeleste (minor spelling difference noted) during the first eight decades of the 18th century, which can be divided fundamentally into two different versions. The prolific Nuremberg publisher Johann Baptist Homann first published Planispaerium Caeleste in his Neuer Atlas in 1707, bearing the inscription “Opera G.C. Eimmarti. prostat in Officina Homanniana,” meaning “Work of Georg Christoph Eimmart offered for sale by the Homann Workshop.”That chart has six inset diagrams. (See Homann’s Planisphaerium Caeleste on our web site.) Scholar Robert H. van Gent notes the existence of similar prints of this format published by de Wit, Funck, Schenck, and Lotter, as well as by R. & J. Ottens in Amsterdam. (See Ottens’ Planisphaerium Coeleste on our web site.) Some versions diverge from the original with the inclusion of a seventh inset diagram and a figural illustration in the upper center. These include ones published by Melchior Rein in Augsburg (the offered example here) and by Georg Matthäus Seutter (1647–1756) in Nuremberg.
In the Rein example (offered here), Rein is credited as engraver under the lower center diagram; in contrast, the related Seutter version has a credit line noting in Latin that it was published by grant of privilege issued by the Augsburg regency court (Reichsvikariatsgerichtshof). This privilege was granted to Seutter in 1741. It could be posited that the Seutter version, and publication thereof, was directly related to the Rein engraving due to their similarity of style, and the time and place of publication, but our research has not yielded anything definitively linking them.
Melchior Rein was a German painter and engraver who worked in Bamberg and Augsburg. He engraved portraits and maps.
Full publication information lower center: “Sc. Melchior Rein aqua forti” [Engraved and etched by Melchior Rein].
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Center vertical fold as issued. Some printer’s creases including lower center.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 7. p. 162.
Stoppa, Felice. “Georg Christoph Eimmart.” Atlas Coelestis. http://www.atlascoelestis.com/eimmart%201705.htm (23, October 2015).
van Gent, Robert H. “The Atlas Coelestis (1742) of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr.” Web Pages on the History of Astronomy by Robert Harry van Gent. http://www.phys.uu.nl/~vgent/doppelmayr/doppelmayr.htm (3 November 2015).