The Works of Galileo

The Academy of the Lynx

Natural Magic

In his book Natural Magic, Giovanni Baptista Della Porta had designed an optical tube to make far things appear as though they were near. (Figure 1) (Figure 2) The field of optics was often associated with magical tricks and illusions, and for that reason sometimes held suspect among nonmathematicians (Figure 3) (Figure 4) . One physicist at Pisa, Giulio Libri, refused to look through Galileo’s telescope. When Libri died shortly thereafter, Galileo quipped that he would have another opportunity to see the satellites of Jupiter on his way up to heaven.

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Della Porta, 1589. Title page.

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Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Della Porta, 1658. English title page.

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Figure 3 Figure 3 - Return to Text

Della Porta, 1664. Frontispiece.

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Figure 4 Figure 4 - Return to Text

Della Porta, 1713. Frontispiece.

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Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder, with the assistance of , Marilyn B. Ogilvie, Duane H. D. Roller.

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