[CORONELLI, Vincenzo. Memorie istoriografiche delli regni della Morea e Negroponte…, Venice, 1686].
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was an Italian Franciscan friar, cartographer, cosmographer and encyclopedist. Son of a Venetian tailor, he was born and died in Venice. While still an adolescent, he moved to Ravenna to learn the art of wood engraving. At the age of sixteen he published the first of the one hundred and forty works he was to produce throughout his life. Coronelli studied in Rome, where he became Doctor in Theology. He also studied astronomy, Euclidian geometry and ancient philosophy. He became most famous for his terrestrial globes. In 1678, he made two such globes of excellent technique, of 175 cm. in diameter, for the Duke of Parma. In 1681, the French ambassador in Rome commissioned from Coronelli two similar globes, intended as a gift to King Kouis XIV. Coronelli then moved to Paris for two years, where he constructed the two globes, 382 cm. in diameter and weighing two tons each. One represents the earth, based on the geographical knowledge of the time, and the other the heavens, with the celestial vault as it appeared on the day Louis XIV was born, coloured and illuminated with the constellations in the form of imaginary animals. Today these globes are exhibited in the François Mitterrand National Library of France.
After his stay in Paris, Coronelli lived and worked in various European countries. In 1705 he settled permanently in Venice, where he founded the first geographical society, the "Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti". Until 1707 he directed a large workshop of mapmakers producing high-quality publications crucial to the evolution of cartography. Coronelli was named cosmographer of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, and was in charge of depicting the victorious battles fought by his compatriots during the Venetian-Turkish War of 1684-1687. Since then, these drawings have accompanied a multitude of reprints and translations of his works into English, French, Flemish and German. They have also illustrated subsequent travel chronicles, historical studies and geographical works. Coronelli died at the age of 68, having published hundreds of maps, as well as the first six volumes of the "Biblioteca Universale Sacro-Profana", considered to be the first encyclopedia with entries in alphabetical order. Many of his globes are today in Austria, Germany and Belgium, while the International Coronelli Society for the Study of Globes, based in Vienna, is named after him.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou