“Remaking the Heavens”

RemakingTheHeavens5001. Preface

For long time I surfed the web in searching for hi-res digital files representing celestial (and terrestrial) gores by Venetian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718). The best I found was a pdf version of the “Atlas Céleste, composé d’un globe de douze pieds de circonférence, du P. Coronelli, …”, edited in Paris in 1782, at the Bibliotèque Nationale de France website. Though they have good resolution, the scans were roughly converted in B/W files, and some of them are compromised by the book binding.


My research stopped two months ago, when I met online the “Libro dei Globi”, a collection of fac-simile gores edited by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd. (Amsterdam) in 1969, from the original Coronelli’s prints published in Venice in 1701. I could not wait anymore! I bought it from Sequitur Books (USA) and now, that big book is on my desk. So, it’s time to start my new project:

The project “Remaking the Heavens” consists in a large celestial paper globe (50 cm diam.) illustrated with digitally re-colored Coronelli’s gores from the “Libro dei Globi”, edited in Venice in 1701.

aThe title of the project could seem too ambitious, though what I would like to do is the modern version of the past common practise of coloring the b/w prints by hand, often according to the wishes of the buyer. Obviously, being a paper model designer, the globe will be entirely made of paper, therefore the technique I will use for making it will be completely different from the classical one. And it will be a little bit different from the other globes I designed so far. I will keep you updated on the progress of the project…

2. Scan, prototype, and the North Pole

Almost two years already passed since I published my first (and last) post on “Remaking the Heavens”. Well, I worked on it, but not enough…


The first thing I did was to scan the pages of the “Libro dei Globi”. That book contains several series of celestial (and terrestrial, too) gores for making globes of different size. I chose the series with maximum size, since it allows to reach optimum image resolution. Due to the size of the book (35×51 cm), and to ensure optimal results, I have committed the job to a professional firm (Be.One.Digital). Three types of images (.tiff) were produced: colored (as it is), grey scale, and b/n. The b/n version resulted the best in terms of definition and clearness, suitable for being colored.

Then, I prepared the 3D model of the sphere (24 half-gores with 36 meridional segments). I decided to subdivide the sphere into 24 gores, instead of the classical 12 gores in order to improve the spherical shape of the globe. The assembling procedure will be longer, but the gores will be easier to handle.

Later, I worked on the texture UV mapping, that is the 3D adaptation of the scanned gores onto the sphere surface. I used Metasequoia software, very simple but effective.
The planar developments were produced by means of a software called Pepakura, the most effective, versatile, and cheap software currently on the market.

At present, the situation is as follows:

the north hemisphere is ready in the b/w version and was already built and tested, as you can see from the picture:

20160904_092435The north Pole plate (“Costellationi Celesti del Polo Artico”) was colored and stored in four different versions, that will be the available versions of the two (30 and 50 cm diameter) final globes: b/w, blue background with stars, and two final (presumably) colored versions (on blue and cream backgrounds).



In total, there will be eight versions of the celestial globe.

Well, now I have to color the remaining 49 (!!!) plates!

In the meanwhile, as you can see on the top of this page, I corrected the introducing cartouche with a less defined (and more realistic) “final” date of publication…