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Andreas Cellarius: Scenographia Systematis Mundani Ptolemaici

Map: CELEST1337
Cartographer: Andreas Cellarius
Title: Scenographia Systematis Mundani Ptolemaici
Date: 1661
Published: Amsterdam
Width: 21 inches / 54 cm
Height: 18 inches / 46 cm
Map ref: CELEST1337
Splendid example of Cellarius's celestial diagram illustrating the geo-centric Solar System model of the Classical mathematician Claudius Ptolemy (100-170 AD). The Ptolemaic model held that the Earth sat at the centre of the Universe with the other celestial bodies orbiting it in perfect, evenly-spaced, circular orbits. Ptolemy's model was disputed even in Classical times and had been abandoned by the European scientific community in favour of Tycho Brahe's semi-geocentric model and other similar models by the 17th century. Cellarius included similarly formatted charts in his atlas showing the models of Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus to provide his readers with a useful comparison of the competing theories.

The orbits of the Sun, the Moon, and the five known planets are shown on the map, each traced with a coloured line. Gold leaf is used to the embellish the sun and the planets. The diagram also features a beautifully illustrated band representing the constellations of the Zodiac. The globe which forms the central point of the cosmological model is represented by a finely drawn map of the Eastern Hemisphere according to the best contemporary geography. Though generally accurate, the depiction of Australia is still striking for its errors. The outer borders of the diagram are further embellished with winged putti and fluffy pink clouds. The map's title banners are held aloft by angels. In the lower corners are two groups in serious academic discussion along with their scientific instruments.

Andreas Cellarius's celestial charts are some of the most decorative ever published and are highly sought-after for their combination of Dutch Golden age beauty and their scientific content. These maps were published at a time when the classical cosmologies of the ancient Greeks were at last being challenged by the new, emerging theories of contemporary scholars, such as Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus. To find out more about Andreas Cellarius's maps, read our extended blog post - "Finding our place in the Universe" - on The Map House blog.

Rich original hand colour. [Framed] [CELEST1337]