An attractive frontispiece showing the continuing fascination with Greek mythology, published by Vincenzo Coronelli in Venice.
The image shows a cherub holding the Spanish motto, plus ultra (further beyond), above an allegorical scene of Neptune ushering Venus onto land. The division between land and sea is marginal in this map, and references to the Argonauts appear to act as an allegory for Spain's naval power. At the base of the image is a lion, another symbol of Spain.
This engraving served as one of several frontispieces in Coronelli's 1689 Atlante Veneto, meant to accompany Blaeu's Atlas Maior.
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.