Pyramidal metallic mirror with anamorphosis and hand-coloured print

75 x 75 (anamorphosis)
13 x 13 (mirror base)
Polished steel, brass and painting on wood

INDEX 1788 : X.IV.384/ Y.VI.384

Speculum pyramidale metalicum cum figura deformi picta in magna Tabula.

Pyramidal metallic mirror with a distorted figure painted on a large board.

19.4 x 15.9
Hand coloured print
Ostade Pinxit./
/R.Houston Fecit

INDEX 1788 : Y.IV.386

TTabellae duae, quae representant imagines binas veras, secundum quas delineatae fuerunt preadictae figurae deformes, altera pro speculo pyramidali, pro conico altera.

Two small boards which represent the two true images after which the previous distorted figures were composed, one in front of the pyramidal mirror, the other in front of the conic mirror.

We have here a beautiful anamorphosis painted on wood which can be observed through the glossy surfaces of a pyramid with a quadrangular base, placed in the centre of the painting. The anamorphosis shows four male figures, undertaking diverse activities, located on the middle sections of each of the sides of the painting. Two of the men are smoking, expelling smoke from their mouths, while another observes something through a magnifying glass. The fourth man is holding a branch on top of which sits a bird, this being the only figure whose whole body appears painted, looking as though he is sitting on a small elevation of the floor. These figures are slightly distorted on purpose to obtain the desired effect when the group is observed through the mirrored surfaces of the pyramid.

If the painting is observed by placing the eyes along the line which passes through the vertex of the mirrored pyramid and perpendicular to the base of it, a fifth masculine figure is seen, a result of the combination of the four images given by the four faces of the pyramid. Each of the faces shows an image of the masculine figure closest to it.

The pyramid is solid and very heavy, being made of polished steel, and can be removed from the painting, using a latch. A wooden box, lined in leather, is also part of this assemblage, where the pyramid is kept after putting it in a tin case. The device was accompanied by a small engraving, showing an image of the Smoker which can be seen through the pyramid.

From Colégio dos Nobres (painting and mirror catalogue n.º 377; engraving catalogue n.º 379).

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