Coronelli, Vincenzo Maria

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Coronelli, Vincenzo Maria

(b. Venice, Italy, 15 August 1650; d. Venice, 9 December 1718),


Coronelli was the son of Maffio and Catarina Coronelli. He became a Minorite friar in 1655 and received a doctorate in theology at Rome in 1674. Interested in maps and globes from his early youth, he built his first pair of globes for the duke of Parma about 1678. The workmanship and accuracy of these globes impressed César Cardinal d’Estrées, the French ambassador to the Holy See; and in 1681 Coronelli was invited to Paris, where he spent two years constructing a terrestrial globe and a celestial globe for Louis XIV. These extremely ornate works, 3.90 meters in diameter, remained the largest globes made until the 1920’s. They were first displayed at the royal residence of Marly, later the Royal (now National) Library in Paris. Since 1920 these globes have been stored at Versailles.

On his return to Venice in 1684, Coronelli founded the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti, the first geographical society. Named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice, Coronelli proceeded to design two major atlases, the Atlante veneto and the Isolario; traveled extensively through Europe; and became known as a civil engineer and geographer. In 1701 he was elected minister-general of the Minorite order, a post he held for three years. In 1705 he returned to Venice and, except for one last journey to Vienna, where he was consulted by the emperor on flood control measures, spent the rest of his life in the Minorite convent there.

Coronelli’s work includes, besides the more than 100 large and small globes that have survived, several hundred maps, printed separately and as parts of atlases, and seven volumes of a projected forty-five-volume encyclopedia, the first major encyclopedia to be arranged alphabetically and published in the vernacular. But it is chiefly for his globes that Coronelli is remembered: their accuracy, the wealth and timeliness of the information displayed, and their artistic excellence distinguish their maker as one of the leading geographers and cartographers of the baroque period.


I. Original Works. Coronelli’s writings are Atlante venteo (Venice, 1691); Isolario (Venice, 1696–1698); and Biblioteca universale sacro-profana, 7 vols. (Venice, 1701–1706).

1. Secondary Literature. On Coronelli or his work, see Roberto Almagia, “Vincenzo Coronelli,” in Der Globusfreund, 1 , no. 1 (1952), 13–27; O.-G. Saarmann Muris, Der Globus im Wandel der Zeiten (Berlin-Stuttgart, 1961), pp. 167–173; and Pietro Rigobon, “Biografia e studi del P. Vincenzo Coronelli,” in Archivio veneto, 3, no. 1 (1872), 267–271.

George Kish

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