System of Subterranean Fires from Mundus Subterraneus (1678 edn.) vol. 1, p. 194
Just want to make note of this before I forget - so last Monday, during the first class of my Intro Art History Survey class, I was explaining how Art History is mostly made up, and often within a generation or two the speculative interpretations of respected experts become ridiculous embarrassments, and I gave the first example that came to mind -- Athanasius Kircher's wildly inaccurate attempt at translating Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Robert Smithson After Athanasius Kircher, 1971, 12% x 15%", ink.
Ed Asner and Billy Dee Williams examining System of Subterranean
Fires diorama (M.A. Peers) at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, 2001
I was a little spooked by this, a little paranoid, a little everything, and I actually asked the class towards the end - "Um... do any of you have a device named Athanasius Kircher?" They all laughed, but no one fessed up. I remain mystified. The end.
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