Copper engraving Image 500 x 82 mm, Plate 543 x 134 mm, Sheet 640 x 168 mm An extremely scarce, nineteenth century impression of a late seventeenth century, anamorphic portrait of King Charles I. An inscription with instruction on how to view the image, above the portrait: ‘King Charles ye Firste Head Drawn in Optiks / Place the Letter A to your Eye and glance it A long.’; and the letter ‘A’ in the centre underneath the image. Anamorphic images have a distorted projection or perspective which requires the viewer to look at the image from a certain angle or even use a device, like for example a mirror, to correct the image. Leonardo da Vinci sparked the interest in using this technique in art with experiments like his sketch of an eye, also known as ‘Leonardo’s eye’ c. 1485. The most well-known example of anamorphosis in art is to be found in Hans Holbein the Younger’s painting ‘The Ambassadors’. In this work from 1533 a diagonal, oblong shape is painted on the foreground. Only when viewed from the right does this strange shape transform into a detailed skull. Anamorphosis was also a popular tool in baroque painting. Andrea Pozzo created a masterpiece using this technique in the Church of St. Ignazio in Rome. It was not possible to build a dome for the church, so Pozzo created a perspective on the ceiling to make it look like the inside of a dome, but only if you are standing in the right spot. After the 17th century the anamorphic technique became less commonly used in fine art. It was used every now and then in caricatures and other funny prints. This kind of print is extremely rare to find today.
Condition Toning and foxing to image and sheet.