Coronelli was both a cleric and an encyclopedist, with a particular interest in geography and cartography. He joined the Franciscan Order in Venice in 1665 and six years later entered the convent of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, which was to become his professional workshop.
In 1681 Coronelli served as Royal Cartographer to King Louis XIV in Paris, gaining special access to the most current records on world geography sent in from the colonies, and provided by the French Academy of Sciences.Coronelli returned to Venice in 1684 and founded the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti, a geographical society with membership drawn from the aristocracy and church hierarchy, and a year later he was appointed Cosmographer to the Republic of Venice.
He also started a successful publishing career, and was sole author or contributor to over 140 titles and produced several hundred maps, either printed separately or as parts of atlases. Coronelli published his groundbreaking cartographic work in a number of notable publications, including the two-part Isolario Atlante Veneto (1691-1692; 1696-98), and the Corso Geografico Universale (1692 & 1695). He is also credited with being the first to publish an encyclopedia in alphabetic order. By the end of the 17th century, he was perhaps the most famous map publisher in Europe and received constant requests from his contemporaries for information that would enable them to bring their atlases up to date. Shortly after his death, however, his name and work were quickly forgotten, and he remained in obscurity for several centuries. The lasting influence of his work is undeniable, however, and modern appreciation has more than compensated for the earlier lack of recognition.
Coronelli’s Isolario, believed to be Coronelli’s greatest work, is one of the most decorative and ornate of all 17th century atlases. Illustrated in Coronelli’s unique style, this atlas is a comprehensive survey of the islands of the world as known in his time, along with diagrams of various nautical weather conditions, instruments, fortresses and ship diagrams.