The perspective glass

Philosophy, History, Quotes

He assembled for himself a significant collection of optical instruments that apparently enabled him to write his Minute or First Draught of the Optiques’ in 1646, which addressed sight as the noblest of ye senses’. The perspective glass, which was developed and marketed among others by [Jean-Francoise Niçeron] in Paris, was an especially significant instrument. The tube’s multifocal beveled lens was projected from a certain point onto an image of apparently unconnected fragments; the sections then came together to form a new arrangement. Hobbes apparently saw a witty example in which Ottoman sultans merge together and, from their fragments, reassemble themselves in the form of the young king of France, thus becoming visually subordinate to him. By optically sacrificing a part of themselves, they form their sovereign.

~ From Bredekamp, Horst. 2007. Thomas Hobbes’s Visual Strategies.” In The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes’s Leviathan.