Reference : Small in size, great in significance: conspicilla and perspicilla in the visual arts ...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : Art & art history
Small in size, great in significance: conspicilla and perspicilla in the visual arts of the Low Countries around 1600
Koeleman, Floor mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
26th International Congress of History of Science and Technology
from 25-07-2021 to 31-07-2021
Czech Republic
[en] Vision ; Telescope ; Lenses
[en] A largely forgotten constcamer painting from the early seventeenth century shows eyeglasses and a telescope in close proximity. The inclusion of these extensions of sight in The Five Senses of the Musée Magnin (Dijon) seems to allude to the implicit link between the two. As tools to observe with and through, these instruments visualize the limits of human perception and the ability to alter the scale of the visible world. The Five Senses was created in Antwerp around the same time the telescope first appeared in textual sources, namely 1608. However, the optical instrument is likely to have existed for years by then. This paper investigates if any references to the telescope in the visual arts predate the first written evidence of its invention. For artists the early telescope was probably not that challenging an object to represent. The exterior, a simple tube characterized by a diaphragm, housed two lenses made by the same glass industry that manufactured eyeglasses. This paper takes a closer look at the imagery of eyeglasses and telescopes, depicted in the visual arts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The meaning assigned to these instruments can be inferred from the context in which they are presented and their relative scale. Together eyeglasses and telescopes feature prominently in constcamer paintings dedicated to visual perception, understood both physically and metaphysically. While the exact date of creation remains subject to debate, The Five Senses probably contains the earliest known depiction of a telescope – true to scale.
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) > Doctoral Training Unit (DTU)
FnR ; FNR10929115 > Andreas Fickers > DHH > Digital History and Hermeneutics > 01/03/2017 > 31/08/2023 > 2016

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