The Galileo Project
site map

Stelluti, Francesco

1. Dates
Born: Fabriano, Italy, 12 or 29 January 1577
Died: probably Rome, perhaps November 1652
Dateinfo: Death Uncertain
Lifespan: 75
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
Bernardino Stelluti was a member of a patrician family of Fabriano. Ramelli lists quite a few members of the family, over the centuries, who occupied prominent positions. Stelluti's career as a client makes it clear that the family should be seen as minor, provincial patricians.
There is a suggestion that the family finances were uncertain, but the suggestion is not nearly clear enough to call them poor.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Stelluti's modest literary activities imply that he had a standard humanistic education. Apparently he was sent to Rome to study law, before he entered Cesi's service. There is no mention of a university.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Scientific Organization
Subordinate: Microscopy, Mineralogy
Stelluti's presence in the DSB depends entirely on his role as procurator of the Accademia dei Lincei.
In 1625 he published the first microscopical observations to appear in print--made with the microscope that Galileo presented to Cesi.
In 1637 he published Trattato del legno fossile, which argued that fossilized wood is a peculiar form of mineral. While I am putting this in, I need to add that the book is anything but recognized as a classic in mineralogy.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage
In 1603 Stelluti entered the service of Federico Cesi and remained in his service (apparently with a short interruption) and then that of his widow until her death in 1642.
When Cesi's father disbanded the Accademia in 1604, Stelluti went back to Fabriano and then to Parma where he attached himself to the ducal court. The correspondence implies that Cesi still saw him as a client. At any rate, he returned to Rome and definitely to Cesi's service in 1608 or 9.
After the death of Cesi's widow, he was apparently in the service of Duchessa Livia della Rovere for a short time.
Apparently he was back in Rome in 1644 and apparently he died there, perhaps in November 1652.
In fact, close to all that we know about Stelluti's life is his service to Cesi.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official, Government Official
See about Cesi above.
He also addressed a poem to Olimpia Aldobrandini, Princess of Rossana.
In 1630 Stelluti republished an altered version of the Apiarum of 1626 (itself a piece of flattery of the Barberini family) in a volume of translations of the satires of Persius dedicated to Card. Francesco Barberini. He also dedicated a book about fossilized wood and a translation of Porta, both in 1637, to the Cardinal.
In 1651 he dedicated Cesi's Tabulae phytosophicae, published in the Rerum medicarum novae hispaniae thesaurus, to Rodrigo de Mendoza, the ambassador of the King of Spain to the Vatican.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Cartography
Stelluti is repeatedly said to have had mathematical capacity. He did a map of the region of Todi and Aquasparta (published in the Trattato del legno fossile (1637) and one of the region of Rosaro. He also furnished Magini with information of the border of the Marches and Umbria for Magini's map of Italy.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Accademia dei Lincei
Stelluti was one of the four original Linceans. Cesi named him procurator of the Accademia in 1612.
  1. Giuseppe Gabrieli, "Francesco Stelluti linceo fabrianese," Atti della Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali e storiche, ser. 7, 2 (1941), 191-233.
  2. _____, "Il carteggio linceo della vecchia accademia di Federico Cesi (1603-30), ibid., ser. 6, 7, (1938-42), passim. This is easily the principal source on Stelluti, although the information is scattered through a thousand pages.
  3. C. Ramelli, "Discorso intorno a Francesco Stelluti da Fabriano," Giornale arcadico di scienze, lettere ed arte, 87 (1841), 106- 44.
  4. Charles Singer, "The Earliest Figures of Microscopic Objects," Endeavour, 12 (1953), 197-202.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.