Arader Galleries

Corporum Coelestium Magnitudines

$ 5,000.00

Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665)
Plate 10 – Corporum Coelestium Magnitudines
From: Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica
Amsterdam: Schenk and Valk, 1708
Hand-colored copperplate engraving
36 1/2” x 32" framed

This illustrative piece shows a comparative visual scale of the planets in relation to each other. (As understood in the time of Cellarius) The result is a beautiful print successfully playing with ideas of shape and color fields. The aesthetic of this piece unintentionally foreshadows the beautiful work of many post modern painters. Its use of large, bold, and slightly varied tonal qualities in the spaces of color, make for such a visually capturing and intriguing image.

The static format of this image demands attention when viewed amongst its peers, and then successfully holds the viewer's attention. Although this piece is so visually different from other works in the series, it is visually tied in with the series with its decorative flying cherub and cloud surrounding.

The celestial bodies depicted in this plate, in order from bottom to top are: Mercury, the Moon, Venus, Earth, Mars, sixth magnitude star, fifth magnitude star, fourth magnitude star, third magnitude star, Saturn, Second Magnitude star, Jupiter, first magnitude star, and the Sun.

An interesting fact about this image can be seen in the measuring units used in making the plate. The scale in the image uses Terrestrial diameters and German miles. Knowledge about the German mile is relevant to any person interested in the history of Astronomy. In Cellarius’s time, it was commonly used amongst all Astronomers. It was equal to a 15th part of a degree on the terrestrial equator. The Earth’s Circumference was considered to be 5,400 German miles, which is 360 degrees multiplied by 15. The Nautical mile was then equal to ¼ of a German mile, which is 1/60th a degree along the equator.