Athanasius Kircher
b. 1601; d. 1688

Athanasius Kircher was a leading scholar in his time of natural sciences and mathematics. His major work was “Ars magna lucis et umbrae” published in Rome in 1646. In his revised publication, printed twenty five years later, he shows a picture of a camera obscura with an opening in the floor through which the artist entered. Kircher also gave a description of a magic lantern:
“Make … a wooden box and put on it a chimney, so that the smoke of the lamp in the box is on a level with the opening, and insert in the opening a pipe or tube. The tube must contain a very good lens, but at the end of the tube…fasten the small glass plate, on which is painted an image in transparent water colors.

Then the light of the lamp, penetrating through the lens and through the image on the glass (which is to be inserted… upside down) will throw an upright, enlarged colored image on the white wall opposite. In order to increase the strength of the light, it is necessary to place a concave mirror behind the lamp.”
Actually, the illustrator got it wrong, in that he placed the transparency in front of the lens, which would not have projected it.


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