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Perspective drawings on irregular surfaces, with 34 well-engraved plates

BOSSE, Abraham.
Moyen universel de pratiquer la perspective sur les tableaux, ou surfaces irregulieres. Ensemble quelques particularitez concernant cet art, & celuy de la graveure en taille-douce.
Paris, Abraham Bosse, 1653. 8vo. With engraved frontispiece, engraved dedication, engraved part-title to the plates, and 31 engraved perspective plates (one folding), all engraved and designed by Abraham Bosse. Contemporary sheepskin parchment, later red spine label.
€ 3,500
First edition of a treatise on perspective using the theories and methods of Girard Desargues (1591-1661), lucidly presented and illustrated by his friend and follower, the engraver Abraham Bosse. It is a continuation of Bosse's Manière universelle de Mr Desargues pour pratiquer la perspective … (1648), which was devoted to perspective drawing on a plane surface. Here Desargues's system is applied to angled and curved surfaces and Bosse addresses both theorists and practicians. "His Moyen universelle ... paid particular attention to the illusionistic projection of perspective onto ceilings and vaults of various configurations" (Kemp). Bosse's own engravings are well-executed and aren't limited to straight theoretical illustrations.
Desargues was "a geometer of profoundly original ideas" (DSB). However, his use of original vocabulary and his refusal to resort to Cartesian symbolism made his work difficult to read and his important contributions to geometry were only known to a small audience. Desargues regarded an anonymous 1642 publication as a plagiarism of his work and posted plackards against it, which embroiled him in a series of polemics known as the "French perspective wars", where his work and he personally came under harsh attack. He retreated behind his disciple Abraham Bosse, to whom he entrusted the task of disseminating his methods and defending his work.
A couple smudges, but otherwise in very good condition.
Berlin Kat. 4718; Cicognara 820; Kemp, The science of art, pp. 121-125, et passim; for Desargues: DSB IV, pp. 46-51.
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Art & architecture  >  Architecture & Gardens
Science & technology  >  Optics & Perspective