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Astronomical Images : Perspective view of a stage scene depicting a city

Daniello Barbaro

Astronomical Images

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Daniello Barbaro (1514-1570) belonged to a Venetian patrician family, and was educated at the University of Padua. He is well-known for his collaboration with Andrea Palladio (1508-80) on the Italian translation and commentary on Vitruvius' work on architecture. Barbaro wrote on philosophical and religious topics, and had a keen interest in practical mathematics. He left his library and some astronomical instruments he had made to his brother. In the <i>La pratica della perspettiva</i> (1569), Barbaro discusses, among other things, the <i>camera obscura</i>. This image is taken from a manual for composing perspective drawings, e.g. for theatre stage scenes as shown here. The technique of perspective concerns the projection of three-dimensional objects onto a two-dimensional plane, following certain geometrical rules. The very same rules underpinned stereographic projection which was used in many branches of practical mathematics, including cosmography and the construction of instruments such as sundials and astrolabes. For example, in constructing an astrolabe, the spherical heavens are projected onto the flat surface of the instrument.</p>

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