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Jean-François Niceron: Curious Perspective

Being an English Translation of his 1652 Treatise "La Perspective Curieuse"

To students and practitioners of anamorphic art, the name of Jean-François Niceron is more than preeminent; it has become iconic. Through his one great treatise of mathematical art, La Perspective Curieuse, produced in his short but brilliant career, Niceron’s name has become synonymous with a whole branch of art. His book was first published in 1638. An augmented version was then translated into Latin by Mersenne in 1646. A newly amended and augmented version was retranslated into French by Roberval in 1652. This book is an English translation of the 1652 text, with reference to the 1638 and 1646 versions.

Niceron himself did not intend to produce a great work of mathematical theory, but a useful manual for practitioners and artists. As a result, his text at times includes approximations. Considering the continuted high reputation of the book, the mathematics have been checked for correctness and consistency, and the authors have provided a full commentary, pointing out the most difficult turns of the 17th-century French, the respective contributions of Niceron, Mersenne and Roberval, and explaining Niceron’s greatest insights and weaknesses.

With a Mathematical and Historical Commentary by James L. Hunt, John Sharp, and Dominique Raynaud

468 pages | 94 | 6.0 x 9.0

Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies

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Table of Contents


Stván Orosz

History of Perspective Drawing   
Timeline of Anamorphosis (1495–1725)   
Historical and Biographical Sketch   
History of the Minim Order   
Marin Mersenne   
Jean-François Niceron   
Gilles Personne de Roberval   
The Editions   
Source of the Text   
Table of Concordances between the Editions of 1638, 1646, and 1652   
The Graphics   
Transcription of the Text   
Mathematical Commentary and Explanatory Notes   

Curious Perspective by Jean-François Niceron   
Geometrical Introduction   
Volume I   
Volume II   
Volume III   
Volume IV   

Mathematical Commentary   
The Fundamentals of Perspective   
Commentary on Geometrical Introduction   
Commentary on Volume I   
Commentary on Volume II   
Commentary on Volume III   
Commentary on Volume IV   

Natural Magic in the Seventeenth Century   
Laboratory and Workshop Techniques   
The Compas Proportionnel or the Sector   

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