55. Terrestrial globe by V. Coronelli
Venice, 1688 (?)
Vincenzo Coronelli (Venice 1650-1718)
plaster covered with printed paper
diameter 110 cm
[Inv. MdS-107]

Donated to the museum in 1992 by the Enriques family of Bologna in memory of Giovanni Enriques, the globe was restored at the Forlì laboratory of N. Scianna.
It is one of the famous three and a half foot globes that made world famous the friar Minorita Conventuale Vincenzo Coronelli, "geographer, chalcographer, biographer and encyclopedist, as well as founder of the Academy of the Argonauts, Cosmographer of the Veneto Republic, lecturer in geography at the University of Venice and author of a hundred or so books and hundreds of geographical maps and globes".
A precocious talent, Coronelli was only 16 when he wrote Il calendario perpetuo sacro-profano o Lunario del Frate, while his early globes, dedicated to the Duke of Parma Ranuccio Farnese, date from around 1680. The fame he won earned him a summons from cardinal César d’Estrées (1628-1714) to Paris where he built two enormous 3.8 m diameter globes for Louis XIV, able to hold up to thirty people inside. The globes cost a hundred thousand francs.
On his return to Venice he published, among other works, the Atlante veneto in 13 volumes and the Epitome cosmografica, in which he described in detail the techniques for making globes and the materials to use.
To build the globes, the spheres - terrestrial and celestial - were divided into gores engraved on copper plates. These gores, painted and colored, were then glued on a papier-mâché sphere covered by a layer of plaster; finally, the paper was given a coat of protective varnish made of natural resins.
This globe bears the date 1688, the time of the early models, but it is known that at least two other editions of the terrestrial globe (carrying the same date) were produced in 1692-93 and 1707, recognizable only by some variations in the cartouche illustrating the great allegory of the Republic of Venice: there are no indications in our case to help fix a specific date.
There is, placed in the Pacific Ocean, the usual dedication to the cardinal d’Estrées:

IL GENIO / della Virtù / raccomandò / all'Eternità
il Nome di
CESARE / Cardinale Eminentissimo / D'ESTREES
Duca e Pari di Francia / mentre fece elaborare
Dal P. Coronelli / Due Gran Globi,
L'idea de' quali ha poi epilogata / in questi
l'Anno / MDCLXXXVIII / in Venezia.

The ovals at the side of this dedication do not contain the portrait or coat-of-arms of the cardinal, as is also the case with the 1688 exemplar, preserved at the Museum of the History of Science in Florence. Missing too is the dedication that was usually to be found in the large cartouche under Nova Hollanda and that in the first edition of 1688 was addressed to the Doge of Venice, Prince Francesco Morosini.
At the foot of this cartouche there is an oval with the portrait of Coronelli himself, with around it the words P.V. Coronelli M.C. Cosmogr. Public.. Above this oval it was common practice for Coronelli to engrave a sentence with his name and qualifications: it is this characteristic - as mentioned above - that allows us to put a date on the different editions of the Coronelli globes. The 1692-93 editions do in fact carry the title Lettore Pubblico he received from the Republic of Venice in 1689, while the 1707 edition mentions the position of Generale dell’Ordine dei Minoriti which he received in 1701.
Another clue pointing to the first edition of 1688 as the date for this globe is the fact that, in subsequent editions, the back of one of the books appearing in the cartouche mentions the Atlante veneto, published in 1692. Moreover, the analyses of the paper and the inside of the globe made by N. Scianna during restoration suggest that this globe could be one of the first three and a half foot globes made by Coronelli (Bònoli, 1993).
From the information provided by the Enriques family and analysis of the globes present in the work of Maria Luisa Bonelli and the previous work of Matteo Fiorini, it has not been possible to trace the origin of this globe or find out if the accompanying celestial globe exists and where.
For details on the life and work of Coronelli see Ermanno Armao’s 1944 publication; for details on the Coronelli globes preserved in Italy, see Maria Luisa Bonelli’s book of 1960.

E. Armao (1944).
F. Bonasera (1951).
M.L. Bonelli (1960).
F. Bònoli (1993).
M. Fiorini (1899), pp. 329 ff.
M. Miniati (1991), pp. 100, 101.
E.L. Stevenson (1921).