Tuesday, 23 April 2013

ATHANASIUS KIRCHER (1601 or 1602 - 1680)

A Renaissance / Baroque polymath who is claimed to be the last man who understood everything. His view of the world was syncretic, 'the combining of different (often seemingly contradictory) beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought'. The extraordinary extent of his enquiries, which include pre-cinematic optics, are exemplified in the following links. ' Kircher described the construction of a "catotrophic lamp" that used reflection to project images on the wall of a darkened room. Although Kircher did not invent the device, he made improvements over previous models, and suggested methods by which exhibitors could use his device. Much of the significance of his work arises from Kircher's rational approach towards the demystification of projected images'...'Kircher stressed that exhibitors should take great care to inform spectators that such images were purely naturalistic, and not magical in origin.'

Kircher worked with Gianlorenzo Bernini on Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the four rivers) in the Piazza Navonna, Rome.

He also extensively studied forces of attraction such as love and gravity. 





Book by John Glassie:


reference courtesy of Mark Garcia