Andreas Cellarius


Artist Biography:

Andreas Cellarius was born in approximately 1596 in Neuhausen. He was a Dutch German cartographer, best known for his major star atlas, Harmonia Macrocosmica of 1660. The publication of this book formed the final chapter of an exceptionally ambitious cartographic project which had been started 25 years before by the Amsterdam publisher Jan Jansson. The intention was to publish an atlas in a number of volumes detailing not only the geographical features of the earth but also the whole of God’s creation, including the cosmos. Nearly a century before, the eminent cartographer Gerard Mercator had declared his wish to publish a cosmography, but it was not until 1636 that Jansson and Hondius took up the challenge by publishing the first four volumes of their Novus atlas, which featured 320 maps in four languages. A fifth volume was added by Jansson in 1650, which was a nautical atlas with extra maps of the eastern hemisphere, and a sixth volume was published between 1658 and 1662 to include the cartography of the ancient world. A further compilation describing a collection of cities had been published in 1657. Andreas Cellarius’s Harmonia Macrocosmica was added in 1660 and brought to a conclusion Jansson’s description of the world, which was now entitled the Novus Atlas Absolutissimus. Cellarius’s work is the most beautiful and detailed celestial atlas of the 17th century and was so highly regarded that the minor planet ‘12618 Cellarius’ is named in his honour. Cellarius lived for most of his life in Holland, having fled Germany probably to escape Catholic persecution of Protestantism. Little is known about his life, though he was a schoolmaster at a Latin school in Amsterdam and became Rector of the Latin School in Hoorn. He died in 1665, but the plates from his atlas were subsequently reprinted on many occasions.

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