Plane anamorphosis by Jean Francois Niceron, 1638.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Jean-Francois Niceron (1613-1646) studied mathematics under Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) at the College de Nevers in Paris, France and entered the Order of Minims in 1632. Also an artist of some note, he was interested in the uses of anamorphosis in religious art. He was acquainted with the leading scientists in France and Italy, such as Fermat, Descartes, Cavalieri and Kircher and was aware of all the latest theoretical developments. Intent on finding a scientific solution to the problems presented by perspective, Niceron worked out the geometrical algorithms for producing anamorphic art, and in 1638 published his definitive treatise, 'La Perspective curieuse'.