Opticorum libri sex Philosophis iuxta ac Mathematicis utiles. Optica Agvilonii.
Antwerp: Plantin Press, Widow and sons of J. Moretus, 1613.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Near Fine. Item #003656
Folio (346 x 226 mm). , 684,  pp. Half-title, fine engraved title and 6 chapter-opening engraved head-pieces by Theodor Galle after Peter Paul Rubens, engraved text diagram on A2r and over 500 woodcut diagrams and illustrations in text (several with typographic ornaments), woodcut initials and tail-pieces, final leaf with large woodcut printer's device recto otherwise blank. Signatures: *-4*6, A-3O6, 3P4. Contemporary calf, expertly rebacked in brown morocco, spine with 5 raised bands, gilt decoration and lettering and additional gilt-lettered black morocco label, red-sprinkled edges, new endpapers (corners repaired, boards rubbed and scuffed). Text with light even browning throughout, occasional very minor spotting and light staining. Provenance: Gaddesden Library (armorial bookplate to front pastedown). Exceptional copy, crisp and clean throughout. ----
FIRST EDITION of an important treatise on optics and one of only seven books known to have been illustrated by Peter Paul Rubens, a friend of the publisher Balthasar Moretus. Written for the students of Jesuit colleges and for practical application by astronomers, navigators, architects and painters, Aguilon intended the work as the first of a three-part comprehensive survey of the science of optics, but he died before completing the remaining two parts (on catoptrics, dioptrics and telescopes). Although mainly a skillful compilation of earlier works on optics, Aguilon's treatise contains several original contributions, including "the first discussion of the stereographic process (which Aguilon named), one of the earliest presentations of the red-yellow-blue color system, an original theory of binocular vision [later disproved], and the first published description of Aguilon's horopter" (Norman). The title-page is replete with references to the "alliance of vision and reason [. . .] The title-page alone would suggest no more than an illustrator's job well and professionally done. However, the vignettes which Rubens provided for the individual title pages of each of the six books show such a complex and knowing relationship to the text as to leave no doubt that Rubens's intellectual involvement considerable..." (Martin Kemp, The Science of Art, 1990, pp. 101-104). Aguilon's color theory and his prescriptions for the mixing of colors were used by Rubens in his paintings.
References and Literature: Norman 25; NLM/Krivatsy 92; Becker 6; De Backer-Sommervogel 1:90 no. 1; Hofer, Baroque Book Illustration 116; M. Kemp, The Science of Art, 1990, pp. 101-104. - Visit our website to see more images!
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