Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper

Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709), Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper for Painters and Architects, etc. in English and Latin: Continuing a Most Easy and Expeditious Method to Delineate in Perspective all Designs Relating to Architecture, After a New Manner Wholly Free from the Confusion of Occult Lines… (London: Printed by Benj. Motte: Sold by John Sturt …, 1707). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2007-0007F

Andrea Pozzo was a remarkable Italian painter and architect of the Baroque period. Known for his frescoes using illusionist perspective, Pozzo’s most dramatic work can be found in Rome in the painting of the dome, apse, and ceiling of the Church of S. Ignazio (1685-1694). As this project was being completed, Pozzo wrote down instructions for his particular technique of perspective in a manual entitled Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum, published in 1693.

As one of the earliest manuals on perspective for artists and architects, the book went through many editions and translations, from the original Latin and Italian into French, German, English, and, Chinese. The text was noted for the clarity and the precision of its explanations of perspective, making it accessible to architects and artists alike. A cherished volume in any library, Pozzo’s book has been called “the most elaborate and expensive architectural book ever produced ….”

The first English edition came in 1707 under the title Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper…, translated by the architect John James (ca. 1672-1746) and published by Benjamin Motte Sr. (died 1710). This edition has over one hundred folio engravings along with 208 historiated initials John Sturt (1658-1730). 161 subscribers are listed on an engraved plate bound into the final book, including many prominent artists, architects, printers, businessmen, and politicians.