Drawing of Marie Anne Christine, Dauphine of France, reproducing in microscopic letters the text of IGNATIO FRANCESCO MULGIN, Il Trionfo d’applausi, e di glorie figurato di purissime lettere di sua altezza reale Maria Anna Christina Vittoria di Baviera Delfina di Francia, nel quale si contengono li seguenti versi, da leggersi nella figura con il microscopion (The Triumph of Applause and the Glories of Her Royal Highness Maria Anna Christina Victoria of Bavaria, Dauphine of France, illustrated with perfect letters, which contain the following verses to be read in the image with a microscope); manuscript copy of the same text
In Italian, micrographic drawing and manuscript on paper
France, c. 1683-84
A complete book is concealed within this astonishing and very rare micrographic drawing made entirely from microscopic letters. The text when it is copied again in the accompanying manuscript is a lengthy book with 221 folios. This tour de force of calligraphy, likely intended as a diplomatic ploy on the part of the papal envoy to influence the king of France, is a witness to the early impact of the microscope. Made within decades of the publication of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) and the perfection of the microscope by Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1674), this is a work that illuminates the intersection of art and optics at the end of the seventeenth century.