Combinatorial Art. KIRCHER, Athanasius. Ars Magna Sciendi, in XII libros digesta.Amsterdam, Janssonius van Waesberge & Elizaeus Weyerstraten, 1669
2 parts in a folio volume, 370x245 mm; contemporary German full sowskin with blind tooling; pp. 16, including engraved titlepage and printed titlepage, 482, . Second titlepage engraved with 2H4 paper, 2 small plates engraved out of text with the moving figures for the volvelle on pages 13 and 173, decorated initial letters, several illustrations in the text of different sizes. 8 plates: 2 Allegorical illustrated titlepages, portrait of Leopold of Austria on full page, Arbor Philosophica, all engraved in copper. 5 sheets out of text, one on double page and four folded with the plates of combinatorial art.
Provenance: to the label on the insidecover of the 'Librairie Alain Brieux' and ex-libris with illustration: 'Dr. Maurice Villaret '. On the lower margin of the first frontispiece, ancient manuscript note of previous ownership 'Liber Monasterii S, Panthaleonis intra Coloniam Agrippinam'; in the picture, red oval stamp 'Ecole Sainte Geneviève'.Binding with traces of wear and very small wormholes on the lower corner, internally some usual browning and slight foxing. Good specimen.
In this work Kircher, starting from the combinatorial art of Raimondo Lullo, tries to define a method of universal knowledge based on a "new alphabet" which, through the most complex combinatorial operations, allows to identify a way to go back to the divine archetype. Merrill: “Kircher’s elaboration and adaptation of the "Combinatoric Art" of Ramon Lull... Kircher attempts nothing less than the categorization of all knowledge under the nine ideal attributes or dignities of God. These attributes, he argues, are the superstructure of the universe, the pattern for all creation. ... Kircher advocates an ambitious scientific method, a type of logic applicable to all branches of learning, a method of finding truth. Much of the book applies to "Combinatoric Art" to a vast variety of disciplines from theology to medicine to logic, rhetoric, and debate. The Ars Magna Sciendi represents the 17th c. search for a universal language that would allow scientists and philosophers to describe and circumscribe all knowledge into a unified system” DSB: “Designed to teach all disciplines systematically Kircher's 'Ars Magna' (1669) was in the mainstream of the didactic and encyclopedic movement of the century.” Caillet II, 5771; De Backer-Sommervogel IV, 1066; Thorndike VII, 567; Ferguson I, 467¸ Merrill, item 22; DSB vol. VII, pp. 374 – 378. The lot is offered with a valid export license.