Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coronelli's Celestial Maps

 Vincenzo Coronelli, a Franciscan monk born in 1650, is synonymous with 17th century cartography. He was a renowned theologian, geographer, cartogropher, and cosmographer throughout his life and still today. Over his lifetime, Coronelli contributed 140 separate works of cartography and cosmography. Coronelli completed his first map at the age of sixteen. In 1678, Coronelli was commissioned to construct a set of terrestrial and celestial globes for the Duke of Parma. The Duke was so pleased with his five feet wide globes that he appointed Coronelli as his theologian. Three years later he was commissioned to create a set of globes for King Louis XIV. These are some of his most impressive works. The massive globes weighed about 2 tons each and represented the most up-to-date French knowledge of exploration based on accounts from Rene-Robert Cavelier and Sieur de La Salle. His reputation continued to grow over the years and in 1699, he was appointed Father General of the Franciscan Order. In 1705 he returned to his hometown of Venice where he published Atlante Veneto and founded the first geographical society called Accedemia Cosmografica degli Argonauti.

This map displays the most complete knowledge of the celestial world in the late 17th century.This hand-colored copper engraving was completed in Venice circa 1690.It represents the major celestial and astrological theories circulating at the end of the century. Taking center stage is a large celestial planisphere displaying the rotations of the planets and signs of the zodiac calendar. This is surrounded by five illustrated wind heads and five planetary diagrams. This composition is bordered by 28 smaller diagrams including solar and lunar eclipses, terrestrial maps, and astrological maps.If you would like to learn more about this piece, please contact Arader Galleries.

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