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Perspectiva Pictorum Et Architectorum Andreae Putei E Societate Jesu. Pars Prima. In qua docetur modus expeditissimus delineandi optice omnia quae pertinent ad Architecturam. (Secunda. In qua proponitur modus expeditissimus delineandi optice omnia quae pertinent ad Architecturam.)

Andrea Pozzo

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Prospettiva De' Pittori E Architetti


Romae.: M.DC.XCIII. (-MDCC.), Typis Joannis Jacobi Komarek Bohemi apud S. Angelum Custodem. [Vol.2: Ex Typographia Jo: Jacobi Komarek Boemi, prope SS. Vincentium, & Anastasium in Trivio.] Superiorum Permissu.

Physical Description

2 vols.; 415 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [110] f., frontis.: 100, [1] illus. (the unnumbered illus is on folio [5] verso). - Vol. II: [124] f., frontis, [2] pl.: 118 illus. In some copies (RA, RIBA) fig. 32 of vol.2 is printed upside-down and has an upright copy pasted over.


Vol. I: [Latin t.p., Italian t.p., frontis., Latin dedic., Italian dedic., imprimatur]; Monita Ad Tyrones / Avvisi A I Principianti - Ad Lectorem, Perspectivæ Studiosum / Al Lettore - [Text and illus.] - Index / Indice. - Vol. II: [Latin t.p., Italian t.p., frontis., Latin dedic., Italian dedic., plate] - Ad Lectorem / Al Lettore - Imprimatur - Text and illus.] - Index / Indice - [Plate] - [Text of 'Institutio Brevis Pingendi albarium recens / Breve Instruttione Per dipingere à fresco'].

Responsibility Note

The figures are not signed by engravers, with the exception of: Vol. I frontispiece (by Vincentius Mariotti), and fig. 50 (by Thiboust); Vol. II. frontis. and figs. 47, 81, 83, 87 (Teodoro Verkruys), 60 (Girolimo Frezza), 65 (Gio. Carlo Allet), 69 and 79 (D.M. Franceschini), and one of the unnumbered plates (Io. Carlo Allet).

The first volume is dedicated by Pozzo to the Emperor Leopold I; the second, to Joseph I as King of Hungary.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, IV (2000), 107; Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 3 (1999), no. 2607, p.153942; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 251, p.206-7; P. Riccardi, Biblioteca matematica (1952), 2: 317.

Studies of Pozzo's method include R. Palmer, '"All is very plain, upon inspection of the figure": the visual method of Andrea Pozzo's Perspectiva', in The rise of the image: essays on the history of the illustrated art book, ed. R. Palmer and T. Frangenberg (2003); W. Oechslin, 'Pozzo e il suo trattato' in Andrea Pozzo, ed. De Feo & Martinelli (1996); L. Salviucci Insolera, 'Le prime edizioni del tratatto' in Andrea Pozzo, ed. De Fea & Martinelli (1996); E. Sjöstrom, Quadratura: studies in Italian ceiling painting (1978).

On the printer Komarek see A. Tinto, 'G.G. Komarek tipografo romano nei secoli XVII e XVIII', in La bibliofilia 75 (1973), 188-225.

Summary Note

Pozzo brought out the first volume of his manual while at work in Saint Ignatius's church in Rome and while teaching at the Collegio Romano; and both volumes include examples of his own productions (St Ignatius, Gesù, Collegio Romano, St John Lateran). He prints his text (in Latin and Italian) on the verso of each page, describing the figure facing it on the next recto - except for leaves 36-52 in volume 1, printed the other way round, and some leaves in volume 2 which have figures on both recto and verso ([92, 93, 95, 98, 99, 101-4, 106, 110, 112-3]).

Avoiding lengthy mathematic demonstrations he carefully marries text and image as he proceeds from simple to more complex examples - 'the preceding figure', he says, 'is always necessary to a right understanding of that which follows. If you meet with anything which at first seems difficult in the description a diligent inspection of the figure may relieve you'. Pozzo thus made his work extremely useful to practising artists, and it was soon translated into many languages, including English and Chinese. The English version appeared in 1707 as Rules and Examples of Perspective ... Wholly free from the Confusion of Occult Lines, and was introduced by Wren, Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor. Pozzo defends his use of one-point perspective in his illusionist decoration of churches by arguing that the viewer will be led, as he changes position, from a sense of chaos to one of divine coherence. In the second volume, where he concentrates on the intersection method of perspective, Pozzo writes specifically about stage-scenery - an area further explored by the Bibiena.

The first unnumbered plate in Volume II shows a draughtsman receiving a drink from a well ('Pozzo'). The second plate shows fresco-painting and immediately precedes the Institutio Brevis or Breve Instruttione on that subject.


Many of the illustrations are reproduced in V. De Feo & V. Martinelli, Andrea Pozzo (Milano: Electa, 1996).


Acquired by 1802: recorded in Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Binding Note

Contemporary vellum; spines lettered 'Pozzo Perspectiva 1 (2)'.


Perspective - Perspective drawings - Architectural drawings - Illusionism - Fresco painting - Techniques - Europe - Italy - History - 17th century - Baroque
Church decoration and ornament - Churches - Italy - Rome - History - 17th century - Baroque
Treatises - Manuals - Pattern books - Instructional materials - Italy - 17th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 17th century