Cellarius’s chart illustrating Claudius Ptolemy’s earth-centered model of the universe
In the second century, Claudius Ptolemy, an important Egyptian Astronomer and Geographer, postulated that the Sun and Planets revolved around the Earth which was at the center of the universe. Cellarius shows Ptolemy’s earth-centric model, with the signs of the zodiac ringing the earth and surrounded by allegorical scenes including a celestial globe, classical astronomers working with globes and instruments.
Andreas Cellarius was born in 1596 in Neuhausen and educated in Heidelberg. He emigrated to Holland in the early 17th Century and 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 soughtafter of celestial charts, blending the striking imagery of the golden age of Dutch Cartography with contemporary scientific knowledge.
The publication of Andreas Cellarius’ Harmonia Macrocosmica in 1660 forms the final chapter of an ambitious cartographic project initiated 25 years earlier by the Amsterdam publisher Johannes Janssonius (1588-1664), namely, the publication of an ATLAS in several volumes which described not only the surface of the Earth but the whole of Creation, including the cosmos and its history.