Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eyes of a Lynx

In 1614, the year of Antonio Neri's death, naturalist Prince Federico Cesi wrote to his good friend Galileo. He complains of the difficulties in getting material from the Roman libraries, urging the astronomer to send him a copy of Antonio Neri's book.

The poor management of these libraries in Rome makes me feel continually thirsty for good books that come to light, which I can use for my study of compositions. They are scarcely giving me the titles, and after a long wait, only a tenth of what I asked. […] now I hear that printed in Florence is L’Arte Vetraria by Priest Antonio Neri, and I think there is some good in it. Please, your lordship, send me a copy, and believe me that I will gladly give them trouble. . .

Shortly after, having received the book the prince wrote,

I thank your lordship for the book on glass, which I find very rich in experiments and beautiful artistry.

In 1603, Cesi founded the Accademia dei Lincei (Society of the Lynxes), an early scientific society whose members (with eyes as sharp as a lynx’s) eventually included both Galileo Galilei and Giambattista Della Porta. Within a few months of Neri's death, his book was already on its way to making history.

No comments:

Post a Comment