Between 1681 and 1683, Coronelli worked at the French court to construct the largest and most spectacular globes in the world, utilizing the most advanced cartographic and scientific information available. Measuring about 12.5 feet in diameter and weighing over 3,000 pounds each, the globes were housed in pavilions at the Château de Marly in 1704; accordingly they are generally referred to as the “Marly Globes.” The celestial globe features allegorical renderings of the constellations with stars heightened in gold. The terrestrial globe combines maps and colorful Baroque pictorial vignettes. The globes were recently restored and are currently displayed without bases, hanging from the ceiling of the Bibliothèque Nationale, François Mitterand Branch, in Paris.
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli was one of the great geographers, authors and cartographic engravers of the Baroque period, a prolific writer on cartography as well as an esteemed globe maker, commissioned by royal and noble patrons. He was trained in theology and became a friar, but turned his energies increasingly to geography, producing more than 100 large and small globes, several hundred maps, and atlases and other geographic and cartographic publications including seven volumes of a projected forty-five volume encyclopedia. In 1684 he founded the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti in his native Venice, the first geographical society, mainly devoted to promoting his works.
Dedication in French to Louis XIV, left cartouche, referring to the celestial globe:
A L’Auguste Majeste De Louis Le Grand/ L’Invincible, L’Heureux, Le Sage/ Le Conquerant./ Cesar Cardinal D’Estrées./ A Consacré ce Globe Celeste,/ ou toutes les estoilles du firmament/ et les planets,/ sont placées au lieu mesme, ou elles estate/ a la naissance de ce glorieux monarque/ afin de coserver a l’eternité une image fixe/ de cette heureuse disposition,/ Sous Laquelle/ La France a Receu le plus Grand Present/ Que le Ciel ait jamais fait a la Terre/ M.D.C. LXXXIII.
[To His August Majesty Louis the Great, The Invincible, The Happy, The Wise, The Conqueror. Cesar Cardinal D’Estrées has dedicated this Celestial Globe, where all the stars of the firmament and the planets are themselves placed, where they were at the birth of this glorious monarch to forever fix his happy disposition. Under which France has received the greatest gift that the Heavens have ever given to the Earth. 1683.]
Dedication in French, right cartouche, referring to the terrestrial globe:
A L’Auguste Majeste/ de Louis le Grand,/ L’Invincible, L’Heureux, Le Sage,/ Le Conquerant./ Cesar Cardinal D’Estrées./ A Consacré ce Globe Terrestre./ Pour rendre un continuel hommage/ a sa gloire, et a ses heroiques vertus, en monstrant les pays,/ ou mille grandes actions on été executées/ et par luymesme, et par ses ordres/ a l’estonnement de tant de nations/ quil auroit pu soumettre à son empire,/ si a moderation n’eût arresté le cours de ses/ conquests,/ et prescript des bornes à sa valeur,/ plus grande encore que sa fortune/ M. DC. LXXXIII./ Cet Ouvrage a ete inue le esachevé par le Pere/ Coronelli Venitien.
[To the August Majesty of Louis the Great, The Invincible, The Happy, The Wise, The Conqueror. Cesar Cardinal D’Estrées has dedicated this Globe. To pay a continual tribute to his glory, and to his heroic virtues, by showing the countries, or a thousand great actions were executed and by himself, and by his orders to the astonishment of so many nations that he would have been able to submit to his empire, if moderation would not have arrested the course of his conquests, and prescribed limits to its value, even greater than his fortune. 1683. This work was finished by the Father Coronelli Venetian.]
Dedication in Italian to Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, Viceroy of the Aragon and Naples, central cartouche:
lllusttrissimo, et Eccellentissimo Sig:/ Gran Contestabile Colonna, gia V. Re, d’Arragona, di Napoli, etc./ Degnò presciegliermi ad elaborare due Gran Globi per la Maesta Cristia:/ nissima. L’Eminentissimo Signore Cardinale D’Estrees, e per servir all’Eccellenza/ V. Ho ristrette nella presente idea le sue proportione matematiche acciò, uso, di quelli, c’hò publicati per l’Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti/ Se il Tipo di questo Modello non è da Ré, essendo pero cosa di Rè, haurà/ qualche simetria col merito eccelso di V. E. e colla devotione profonda, con/ cui m’inchino./ D. V. E./ Venetia, 20 Genaro, 1689./ Humilissimo, et Obbligatissimo Ser:/ F. V. Coronelli, Cosmografo Pubc
[The most illustrious, and most excellent Signore: / Grand Constable Colonna, formerly Viceroy, of Aragon, of Naples, etc./ It was worth ordering me to develop two Great Globes for the Most Christian Majesty/ The Most Eminent Lord Cardinal D’Estrées, and to serve his Excellency / I have restricted its mathematical proportions in the present idea, so that I have published them for the Cosmographic Academy of Argonauts / If the Type of this Model is not from the King, being however a thing of the King, it will have / some symmetry with the excellent merit of V.E.; and with deep devotion, with which I bow./ D.V.E./ Venice, 20 January, 1689/ Your humble servant, F.V. Coronelli, Cosmographer Publisher]
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning and wear. Few abrasions restored. Vibrant hand color possibly later enhanced. Center fold as issued.
Peabody, Sally. “Bibliotheque Nationale, Francois Mitterand Library: Coronelli Globes.” Bonjour Paris. 29 August 2010. https://bonjourparis.com/archives/bibliotheque-nationale-mitterand-library-coronelli/ (28 January 2020).
Westfall, Richard S. “Vincenzo Maria Coronelli.” in Albert Van. Helden, ed. Catalog of the Scientific Community. 1995. http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Catalog/Files/coroneli.html (12 August 2002).