A Celebration of Magellan's Circumnavigation for the King of Portugal
Finely engraved polar gore, or calotte, created for one of Coronelli's largest globes.
Coronelli is well known for making a concerted effort to delineate only verified discoveries and this map is a perfect example of his careful cartography. As nothing was known of the South Pole, this map is completely devoid of any cartographic detail. Instead, Coronelli records notes in each segment of longitude concerning both what was known and speculation.
The sheet is dominated by a large allegorical cartouche containing a description of Magellan's circumnavigation, which includes Hermes pointing at a globe as it is uncovered by a man in 17th century garb.
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most influential Italian mapmakers and was known especially for his globes and atlases. The son of a tailor, Vincenzo was apprenticed to a xylographer (a wood block engraver) at a young age. At fifteen he became a novice in a Franciscan monastery. At sixteen he published his first book, the first of 140 publications he would write in his lifetime. The order recognized his intellectual ability and saw him educated in Venice and Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology, but also studied astronomy. By the late 1670s, he was working on geography and was commissioned to create a set of globes for the Duke of Parma. These globes were five feet in diameter. The Parma globes led to Coronelli being named theologian to the Duke and receiving a bigger commission, this one from Louis XIV of France. Coronelli moved to Paris for two years to construct the King’s huge globes, which are 12.5 feet in diameter and weigh 2 tons.
The globes for the French King led to a craze for Coronelli’s work and he traveled Europe making globes for the ultra-elite. By 1705, he had returned to Venice. There, he founded the first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. He died in 1718.