211

Athanasius KIRCHER

Optics. KIRCHER. Ars magna lucis et vmbrae in decem libros digesta.

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Descrizione

Athanasius KIRCHER
Optics. KIRCHER. Ars magna lucis et vmbrae in decem libros digesta.
 
KIRCHER, Athanasius. Ars magna lucis et vmbrae in decem libros digesta.
Roma, Hermann Scheus ex typographia Ludovici Grignani, 1646

2 Volumi in un tomo in-folio. 295x200 mm. Legatura coeva piena pergamena rigida, titolo manoscritto sul dorso, tagli rossi. Pagine [40, inclusi Antiporta e Frontespizio], 1-494, [2, Frontespizio vol. II], 495-935 [i.e. 937], [15]. La p. 470 numerata erroneamente 370, le p. 567-568 sono ripetute nella numerazione. 
Antiporta allegorica incisa da P. Miotte, 40 incisioni fuori testo su 38 tavole, numerate I-XXXIV. Fra queste una tavola ripiegata e quattro tabelle incise recto e verso su due tavole alle pagine 252 e 402. Antica nota di possesso manoscritta al Frontespizio “FF. Min: Reforman: Bulsaniensi”. Lievi tracce d’uso, buono stato di conservazione. 

Prima edizione magnificamente figurata. Si tratta del principale contributo di Kircher all’ottica, il trattamento di luce, ombra, colore, rifrazione, proiezione, distorsione e luminescenza e fornisce le prime descrizioni della camera oscura e della lanterna magica. 
Glassie: “The title in Latin, Ars magna lucis et umbrae, was intended as a play on words: "We say 'Magna' on account of a kind of hidden allusion to the magnet," Kircher wrote in his introductory pages, meaning that the title could also be read as "The Magnetic Art of Light and Shadow”. Bud & Warner: “The first published account of the illumination and projection of images appeared in the first edition of Athanasius Kircher's Ars magna lucis et umbrae (1646)”. Norman: “Kircher compared the action of light to that of a magnet, examined the phenomena of bioluminescence and mineral phosphorescence..." Lefèvre: “The use of mirrors to project secret messages into dark spaces was taken up in the seventeenth century by Athanasius Kircher, who, though he ridiculed the extravagant claims of Agrippa, described methods for projecting texts using both sunlight and candles, with the aid of both flat and concave mirrors, and a convex lens. Kircher described this art as "Catoptric Steganography", and if we are to believe that the magic lantern anticipated the slide-show, Kircher's Catoptric Steganography was the early modern version of the Powerpoint presentation.” 

Condition Report

Two volumes in one, folio (295 x 200 mm). Contemporary vellum, manuscript lettering to spine, red edges. Pages [xl] (engraved frontispiece, letterpress title, four-page dedication to Archduke Ferdinand (1633-1654), son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor (1608-1657), two-page preface by Ferdinand III, six-page preface by the author, 21 pages of table of contents, two pages of poems in praise of the author and one page of privileges), 1-494, [2, Title-page of vol. II], 495-935 [i.e. 937], [15]. The p. 470 incorrectly numbered 370, pages 567-568 are repeated in the numbering.
Engraved frontispiece signed P. Miotte, 40 engravings out the text on 38 plates, numbered I-XXXIV. Among these, one large and folding and four tables engraved recto and verso on two plates after the pages 252 and 402. Ancient ownership note handwritten on the title page “FF. Min: Reforman: Bulsaniensi ". Slight signs of wear, good condition.

First edition of Kircher's principal contribution to optics, treating light, shadow, colour, refraction, projection, distortion and luminescence, and providing early descriptions of the camera obscura and magic lantern. Glassie: “The title in Latin, Ars magna lucis et umbrae, was intended as a play on words: "We say 'Magna' on account of a kind of hidden allusion to the magnet," Kircher wrote in his introductory pages, meaning that the title could also be read as "The Magnetic Art of Light and Shadow”. Bud & Warner: “The first published account of the illumination and projection of images appeared in the first edition of Athanasius Kircher's Ars magna lucis et umbrae (1646)”. Norman: “Kircher compared the action of light to that of a magnet, examined the phenomena of bioluminescence and mineral phosphorescence..." Lefèvre: “The use of mirrors to project secret messages into dark spaces was taken up in the seventeenth century by Athanasius Kircher, who, though he ridiculed the extravagant claims of Agrippa, described methods for projecting texts using both sunlight and candles, with the aid of both flat and concave mirrors, and a convex lens. Kircher described this art as "Catoptric Steganography", and if we are to believe that the magic lantern anticipated the slide-show, Kircher's Catoptric Steganography was the early modern version of the Powerpoint presentation.” 

Bibliografia

Norman 1216; Becker 219; Vagnetti EIIIb42; Merrill, Athanasius Kircher, 7; Linda Hall Library, Jesuit Science, 10; Bud & Warner, Instruments of Science, 1998; Glassie, A Man of Misconceptions, 2012; Kemp, Science of Art, 1992; Lefèvre, Inside the Camera Obscura – Optics and Art under the Spell of the Projected Image, Max Planck Institut, 2007; Reilly, Studia Kircheriana, 1974.
mer 19 Febbraio 2020
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