Coronelli’s Libro dei Globi
By CORONELLI, Vincenzo, 1705
Globi del Padre Coronelli [manuscript title within engraved border]; Palestra Litteraria on in vito Dell’ Accedemia Cosmografica a suoi Argonauti… [letterpress title].
- Author: CORONELLI, Vincenzo
- Publication place: Venice
- Publisher: [Girolamo Albrizzi for Coronelli
- Publication date: 1704–1707].
- Physical description: Folio (500 by 370mm) 156ff., ‘Gli Argonauti’ plate, engraved title with title in manuscript, double-page engraved depicting Venice defeating the Turks, letterpress title, Coronelli portrait, ‘Gli Argonauti plate’, dedication, address, and certificate, double page engarved plate of Louis XIV’s globe, two plates of globe furniture with Farnese borders, seven double-page engraved charts four celestial and three terrestrial, 128 engraved plates of terrestrial and celestial globe gores, equatorial rings, and globes, (the four polar calottes folding), slight dampstaining to lower corners of plates 82–94, including the two polar calottes, loss to corner of plate 108, not affecting image, contemporary speckled calf, spine in seven compartments separated by raised bands, gilt, red morocco label with title in gilt.
- Inventory reference: 10781
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650–1718), a Franciscan monk, was the official cosmographer of the Venetian Republic and founder of the first modern geographical society: ‘Gli Argonauti’. He earned his great reputation by the exactitude and the beauty of his maps and globes. In his celestial globes, he designed 83 constellations and a catalogue of 1902 stars. Of his terrestrial globes, Stevenson says that he omitted nothing of interest to geographers, navigators and explorers:
“He added a rather unusual number of legends, explanatory and informative in character, but never seemed to crowd the space which he had at his disposal. So exquisitely engraved were his maps that he was able to avoid the appearance of confusion noticeable on other globes of the century“
The ‘Libro dei Globi’ forms part ten of Coronelli’s geographical opus that he published under the general title ‘Atlante Veneto’. Of this book of globes Armao knew one edition of the 1697 and one of 1705, each recorded in only two examples. More recent work by Marica Milanesi has revealed intermediate stages between those listed by Armao, comprising variations in dedicatory texts, or the inclusion of new peripheral material added to each copy more or less at random from the large stock of plates from Coronelli’s work.
Only ten institutional copies of Libro dei globi are recorded, each representing a bespoke selection of plates available when each was made-up, with versions published with between 135–169 plates, with no two examples exactly the same. The gores often overlap and duplicate large areas of engraved surface (a device presumably deployed to make the globe-maker’s life easier), and so it was not always necessary for an example to have every sheet. The present work has 128 leaves of globe gores, and, if joined, would form 10 COMPLETE separate globes (two, four, six, 18, and 42 inches in diameter in both terrestrial and celestial hemispheres, including polar calottes).
Rare. There are three known institutional examples of the second edition, which have been dated between 1704–1707. The majority of examples differentiate from the first edition of circa 1697–1701 — of which there are seven institutional copies — in several distinct ways; firstly the 1697 edition has the title is in manuscript, this is replaced by a printed title in the later edition — the present work contains both the manuscript and printed titles, leading us to believe that this was a rather early example of the second edition; secondly with the addition of printed text including a dedication, address, and certificate; and finally in the way the large terrestrial gores are treated. The gores themselves were far too large for the size of the book. Coronelli overcame this problem by splitting the plates at the Tropics. In the first edition this was done by masking part of the plate he did not wish to print with paper. Hence on the earlier examples, on only three sides of the gore is the plate mark visible. The plates for the second edition — as in the present example — were cut at the Tropic thus rendering a complete plate mark.
The three institutional examples are housed at: The John Carter Brown Library; Yale University Library; and Biblioteca Nazionale
Marciana in Venice.
- Stevenson, ‘Terrestial and Celestial Globes’ II, pp. 98–120
- Stevenson, E. L. (2001). Terrestrian and Celestial Globes. Connecticut: Martino Publishing.