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One of the Finest Cartographic Title Pages and a Visual Homage to the Great Astronomers
[Amsterdam, 1660]


Title Page.  CELLARIUS, Andreas [Amsterdam, 1660]  Atlas Coelestis, seu Harmonia Macrocosmica… Image sized: 17 x 10 ¼ inches; with frame: 25 x 18 ¼ inches.  Superb original color, heightened with gold; a few rubbed areas else excellent.                                                                 


            A magnificent example, in full original color heightened with gold, of the first issue of one of the most sought after cartographic title pages. It provides a group portrait of the great astronomers depicted with various globes and instruments.  In the foreground are Tycho Brahe and Copernicus, left and right respectively. In the above row at right is Galileo, who with a pointer, at the end of which is globe, demonstrates the heliocentric nature of the solar system.  Shirley suggests the other figures are from left to right—Claudius Ptolemy, the Arabian astronomer al-Battani, Alphonso V of Portugal, and Philip Lansberg (rather than Galileo, which is highly doubtful).  Several astronomical instruments are arrayed along the bottom, and at upper left is an iridescent image of the sun fully finished with gold.

            This work was the title page for first edition of Andreas Cellarius’ Atlas Coelestis, considered the most beautiful celestial atlas ever published.

Shirley, R. Courtiers and Cannibals…no. 51, pp. 144-45.


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