“Eyed Awry”: Blind Spots and Memoria in the Zimmern Anamorphosis

Southern German,  Zimmern Anamorphosis,  ca. 1535,  Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg

The Zimmern Anamorphosis, an anonymous double portrait of a prominent Swabian jurist and his wife from the 1530s, prompts viewers to hunt for their figures amidst a pictorial narrative and then to recall and mentally recompose its hidden parts. This animated mode of reception guides viewers through a perceptual paradox that integrates a memorable history into its subjects’ bodies. Besides legitimating worldly privileges, this painting demonstrates how anamorphosis supports images’ traditional functions as instruments of memory. Capturing period anxieties about dynastic representation and the precariousness of social status, this painting foregrounds vision’s contingency and anchors immaterial memory in a more durable memorial object.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2018.10.2.2

Acknowledgements

Research for this essay was supported by the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California Santa Barbara and an Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation European Studies Fellowship. I am grateful to Mark A. Meadow; to fellow panelists and other listeners for their comments on earlier versions of this essay, which were presented at the College Art Association 104th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, in 2018; and at the annual symposium of the Early Modern Center, University of California Santa Barbara, in 2017. For assistance in Nuremberg, I thank Curator Thomas Eser and Conservator Benjamin Rudolph at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Thanks also to Ann Jensen Adams, Thomas Depasquale, David B. Feldman, Sophia Quach McCabe, JHNA Editor-in-Chief Alison Kettering, and the two anonymous reviewers whose suggestions helped to contextualize my ideas.

Leonardo da Vinci,  Anamorphosis: Study of the Eye; on the left, Juve,  ca. 1478–1518, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Fig. 1 Leonardo da Vinci; Anamorphosis: Study of the Eye; on the left, Juvenile Face, in Codex Atlanticus; ca. 1478–1518; Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana; fol. 98r. ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy/De Agostini Picture Library/Bridgeman Images)
Southern German,  Zimmern Anamorphosis,  ca. 1535,  Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Fig. 2 Southern German; Zimmern Anamorphosis; ca. 1535; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg; inv. no. WI717; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Southern German, Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), left-side view with,  ca. 1535,  Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Fig. 3 Southern German; Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), left-side view with portrait of Wilhelm Werner, Count von Zimmern; ca. 1535; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg; inv. no. WI717; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Fig. 4 Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), right-side view with portrait of Amalia, Landgravine von Leuchtenberg and Baroness von Zimmern (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Hans Holbein, the Younger,  Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, also kno, 1533, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 5 Hans Holbein the Younger; Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, also known as The Ambassadors; 1533; The National Gallery, London; inv. no. NG1314; (artwork in the public domain; photo © The National Gallery, London) https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/hans-holbein-the-younger-the-ambassadors
Line drawing of uneven panel surface
Fig. 6 Line drawing of uneven panel surface. (image: author)
Visible fields from the left side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.1 Visible fields from the left side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Visible fields from the right side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.2 Visible fields from the right side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Exposed "blind spot" areas of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.3 Exposed "blind spot" areas of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Detail view of chapel in center of Zimmern Anamorp,
Fig. 8 Detail view of chapel in center of Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2) ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Line drawing of anamorphic lettering and decoy lettering shaded in gray
Fig. 9 Line drawing of anamorphic lettering and decoy lettering shaded in gray. (image: author)
Detail view of eye in upper left of Zimmern Anamor,
Fig. 10 Detail view of eye in upper left of Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2) ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Line drawing of Wilhelm Werner and his wife Amalia (figs. 3 and 4) as pendant portraits
Fig. 11 Line drawing pairing the two side views (figs. 3 and 4). (image: author)
Detail of inscriptions in Zimmern Anamorphosis (see figs. 3 and 4)
Fig. 12 Detail of inscriptions in Zimmern Anamorphosis (see figs. 3 and 4)
Egnatio Danti,  diagram and instructions for distorting a head in, 1583, Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute
Fig. 13 Egnatio Danti; diagram and instructions for distorting a head in profile, folio. From Egnatio Danti and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Le due regole della prospettica practica (Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1583); 1583; Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute ; 96; (artwork in the public domain)
  1. 1. Historians of linear perspective have often noted these sketches by Leonardo; among others, Martin Kemp, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, rev. ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 49–50; Lyle Massey, “Anamorphosis through Descartes or Perspective Gone Awry,” Renaissance Quarterly 50 (1997): 1166. https://doi.org/10.2307/3039406; This drawing of an eye represents but a fraction of Leonardo’s optical experiments.

  2. 2. William Shakespeare, King Richard II, annotated by Roma Gill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), act 2, scene 2: “Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows / which shows like grief itself, but is not so; / for sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears, / divides one thing entire to many objects; / like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon / show nothing but confusion, eyed awry / distinguish form.” This apt phrase is cited with near-ubiquity in the secondary literature on anamorphosis perspective, with notable contributions cited below.

  3. 3. The multivalent word perspective (from the Latin perspecio, perspicere, perspectum: “to see through” and “to see clearly”) was still largely synonymous with optics until late in the sixteenth century. A contemporary Latin-German dictionary equates perspicere with erkennen (to recognize). Petrus Dasypodius, ed., Voces Propemodum Universas in autoribus latinis probatis (Strasbourg: Wendelin Rihel, 1535), s.v. “Specio”: http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/n-77-4f-helmst-2/start.htm. Artists and other writers also designated techniques for creating illusionistic depth, and—especially in Italy—scenographic views of architecture (building elevations depicted at various angles) as “perspective(s),” and chose it as a key word in their publication titles until at least 1570.

  4. 4. This essay examines only the earliest type of anamorphic image: those whose optical adjustment can be achieved by sight alone, rather than requiring an external instrument, such as a mirror or lens. Device-dependent images proliferated from the 1590s onward. On the tripartite typology of “optic,” “catoptric,” and “dioptric” anamorphoses, see Jean-François Nicéron, La perspective curieuse (Paris: François Langlois, 1638): http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k105509h.

  5. 5. Jurgis Baltruŝaitis, Anamorphic Art, trans. W. J. Strachan (Anamorphoses ou perspectives curieuses, 1955; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977). Thomas Hensel astutely notes that Baltruŝaitis’s choice coincided with the commercial proliferation of “anamorphic lenses” for adapting film from wide-angle to 35mm and vice versa (“Mobile Augen: Pfade zu einer Geschichte des sich bewegenden Betrachters,” in Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst! Sehmaschine und Bilderwelten: Die Sammlung Werner Nekes, exh. cat., ed. Bodo von Dewitz [Göttingen: Steidl, 2002], 54–63). Gaspar Schott coined the term anamorphotica as a broad category of re-formable images, in a chapter on the “art of dissimulation, secret displacement and correction” (Verstellt- oder Verstaltungskunst, geheime Verstellung und Wiederzurechtbringung). See Gaspar Schott, Magia optica, vol. 1 of Magia universalis naturae et artis, trans. M. F. H. M. (1657; Frankfurt a.M.: Johann Martin Schönwetter, 1677), 88: urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10053120-4.

  6. 6. Initial research on the Zimmern Anamorphosis (its modern title) was conducted by scientific instruments curator Thomas Eser for the exhibition catalogue, Schiefe Bilder: Das Zimmernsche Anamorphose und andere Augenspiele aus den Sammlungen des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, ed. Thomas Eser (Nuremberg: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 1998). The painted dates’ third and fourth numerals are badly abraded. Due to its fragile condition, the Zimmern Anamorphosis (http://objektkatalog.gnm.de/objekt/WI717) has not been on permanent display. Thanks to Thomas Eser; and to paintings conservator Benjamin Rudolph for graciously introducing me to the object in the museum’s conservation laboratory.

  7. 7. On the museum acquisition, see Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 40. First catalogued at Nuremberg as an optical device in the collection of scientific objects in the early 1880s, the painting was never transferred to the collection of European paintings.

  8. 8. Shakespeare, Richard II, act 2, scene 2.

  9. 9. On anamorphosis as a harbinger of a non-Euclidian spatial system that pushes the representational capacity of Euclidian geometry to its limits, see Dieter Mersch, “Representation and Distortion: On the Construction of Rationality and Irrationality in Early Modern Modes of Representation,” in Instruments in Art and Science: On the Architectonics of Cultural Boundaries in the 17th Century, ed. Helmar Schramm, Ludger Schwarte, and Jan Lazardzig (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2005), 20–38. For anamorphosis as a technique for channeling social critique, see Jennifer Nelson, “Directed Leering: Social Perspective in Erhard Schön’s Anamorphic Woodcuts,” Source: Notes in the History of Art 34, no. 4 (2015): 17–22: https://www.jstor.org/stable/43668146, https://doi.org/10.1086/686282

  10. 10. Kemp, Science of Art, 50; Kyung-Ho Cha and Markus Rautzenberg, “Einleitung: Im Theater des Sehens; Anamorphose als Bild und philosophische Metapher,” in Der entstellte Blick: Anamorphosen in Kunst, Literatur und Philosophie, ed. K.-H. Cha and M. Rautzenberg (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2008), 7–22; and that volume’s essays, which situate anamorphosis in art forms characterized by movement: theater, dance, and film, as well as in traditional word/image media.

  11. 11. On theoretical and practical writings by artists and by mathematicians of the Jesuit and Minim Orders, see, among others, Massey, “Anamorphosis through Descartes” https://doi.org/10.2307/3039406; Mersch, “Representation and Distortion”; and Hanneke Grootenboer, The Rhetoric of Perspective: Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still-Life Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

  12. 12. Grootenboer, Rhetoric of Perspective, 112–33.

  13. 13. Lyle Massey, Picturing Space, Displacing Bodies: Anamorphosis in Early Modern Theories of Perspective (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007).

  14. 14. For a summary of Jacques Lacan’s statements on self-reflexive observation, see Daniel Collins, “Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer: Inverted Perspective and Construction of the Gaze,” Leonardo 25, no. 1 (1992): 73–82: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/606264. https://doi.org/10.2307/1575625, Embodied sight is also important for the recent studies noted above.

  15. 15. Offering the “anamorphic gaze” as a concept for scrutinizing deceptively illusionistic imagery, Grootenboer recommends treating nonanamorphic images to the same unconventional “mode of looking” that also applies to allegories (Rhetoric of Perspective, 132–33). See also Cha and Rautzenberg on the related “theatralization” of pictures made “kinetic” by their viewers (“Einleitung: Im Theater des Sehens,” 15); and, through the lens of cognitive science, the production of “higher-order self-related processes” through movement-based “anamorphic consciousness” in Zoltán Veres, “Hiding within Representation,” Journal of Consciousness Studies 15, no. 9 (2008), 134.

  16. 16. Exceptional for bearing the artist’s signature and date, Holbein’s Ambassadors was first documented at the Dinteville chateau at Polisy, France, in 1589, as noted by Susan Foister, Making and Meaning: Holbein’s Ambassadors, ed. Susan Foister, Ashok Roy, and Martin Wyld, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 1998), 25. On the putative transference of perspectival theory from Leonardo to Holbein and beyond, see Daniel Carmi Sherer, Anamorphosis and the Hermeneutics of Perspective from Leonardo to Hans Holbein the Younger, 14901533 (PhD diss., Harvard University, 2000): https://search.proquest.com/docview/304610107?accountid=14522.

  17. 17. For a thorough iconographic analysis of the astronomical instruments, see John North, The Ambassadors’ Secret: Holbein and the World of the Renaissance (London: Hambledon and London, 2002).

  18. 18. Susan Foister reads the painting as an expression of its subjects’ distressed mental states, which increases the weight of skull and crucifix as memento mori symbols (reminders of death). See “Death and Distortion: The Skull and the Crucifix,” in Making and Meaning: Holbein’s Ambassadors, ed. Susan Foister, Ashok Roy, and Martin Wyld, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 1998), 57.

  19. 19. This expression is inspired by the theological concept of “reconciliation [or coincidence] of opposites” coined by Nicholas of Cusa in his 1440 text, De docta ignorantia (On Learned Ignorance), and plays on Cusanus’s love of visual metaphors, such as divinity as “revealed but unrevealable vision” in De visione dei (On the Vision of God). See Nicholas of Cusa, Opera Omnia: https://urts99.uni-trier.de/cusanus/content; and Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises of Nicholas of Cusa, trans. Jasper Hopkins (Minneapolis: Arthur J. Banning, 2001), 2:717.

  20. 20. On the conservation and partial restoration of the original frame, see Martina Homolka, “Konglomerat und Kuriosum: Die Zimmernsche Anamorphose: Zur Restaurierung eines perspektiven Doppelporträts und seiner Papiermaché-Ornamentik,” Restauro 104, no. 7 (1998): 480–85.

  21. 21. As uomini illustri, men whose accomplishments are to be emulated, the two identifiable medallions represent Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (r. 1458–90), at lower left, and Ludwig V, Electoral Prince of the Palatine (1478–1544), at lower center (http://objektkatalog.gnm.de/objekt/WI717). This essay focuses, however, on the painted panel within this complex frame.

  22. 22. On the Stromberg Legendʼs sources and motifs, see Gerhard Wolf, Von der Chronik zum Weltbuch: Sinn und Anspruch südwestdeutscher Hauschroniken am Ausgang des Mittelalters (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2002), 216–19, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110874112; and Franz-Josef Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele, lehrreiche Begegnungen mit den Ahnen und eine undankbare Wiedererweckte: Die ‘Gespenster’ des Wilhelm Werner von Zimmern (1485–1575) und ihre Funktionalisierungen,” in Gespenster: Erscheinungen, Medien, Theorien, ed. Moritz Baßler, Bettina Gruber, and Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2005), 62f, n27.

  23. 23. See Eser, Schiefe Bilder. For a fuller account of the Zimmern patronage of art and literature, see Casimir Bumiller, Bernhard Rüth, and Edwin Ernst Weber, eds., Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten: Die Grafen von Zimmern und die Kultur des schwäbischen Adels, exh. cat. (Stuttgart: Belser, 2012). On the family history, see Clemens Joos, “Zimmern,” in Höfe und Residenzen im spätmittelalterlichen Reich: Ein dynastisch-topographisches Handbuch, ed. Werner Paravicini et al. (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2012), 4, pt. 2:1766–76, with extensive literature.

  24. 24. On the role of exhortation in the Zimmern legends, see Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 67.

  25. 25. The Zimmern Anamorphosis may have been initially displayed in the renowned, uncatalogued Wunderkammer assembled by Wilhelm Werner von Zimmern before it was dispersed just after 1594. Along with ancient coins, medallions, and a Latin and German library, the collection primarily held naturalia and mirabilia: stones, bones (i.e., relics), horns, and “antiquiteten und abentheür” (wondrous, valuable old things), as noted by Conrad Gesner, Thierbůch, trans. Conrad Forer (Zurich: Christoffel Froschower, 1563), fols. 65r, 67r: http://dx.doi.org/10.3931/e-rara-5027. On the provenance of other Zimmern commissions, see Bernd Konrad, “Die Freiherren und Grafen von Zimmern als ‘Kunstmäzene,’” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 189–203.

  26. 26. Joos, “Zimmern,” 4, pt. 2:1768, 1799. The object in question was listed as a “hilzene perspectivtafel mit Carolo quinto und herr graff Wilhelm zu Zimmern” (wooden perspective-panel with [Emperor] Charles V and Lord Count Wilhelm von Zimmern). Minus any imperial portrait, the painting was first inventoried at Nuremberg in 1881/82 (book WI 1–1921) as a “mirror image painted on wood” (Spiegelbild auf Holz gemalt). See Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 40n2.

  27. 27. Eser, Schiefe Bilder, supplies the prevailing iconographic interpretation.

  28. 28. On the persistence of bilde in reference to mental imagery in the context of high- and late-medieval courtly love texts (a genre championed by the nobility in general and the Zimmern in particular), see Horst Wenzel, Spiegelungen: Zur Kultur der Visualität im Mittelalter (Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2009), 12.

  29. 29. The figures were first identified by Eser, Schiefe Bilder, from the account of the clan’s ancestry in its chronicle. See Froben Christoph, Count von Zimmern, Die Chronik der Grafen von Zimmern: Handschriften 580 und 581 der Fürstlich Fürstenbergischen Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen, 3 vols, ed. Hansmartin Decker-Hauff and Rudolf Seigel (Constance: Jan Thorbecke, 1964–72), 2:71. Compare the two-volume manuscript of 1564–66, Froben Christoph, Count von Zimmern, Zimmer’sche Chronik, transcribed by Johannes Müller (Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod. Don. 580a/580b): http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/purl/bsz353085545 and http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/purl/bsz353087033. Citations from the chronicle (henceforth Chronik) below follow the Decker-Hauff and Seigel edition. See also Casimir Bumiller, “Die Herren und Grafen von Zimmern—Eine exemplarische oder eine extraordinäre Geschichte?” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 18.

  30. 30. The Chronik identifies Elisabeth thus, although the Teck duchy—an extension of the Zähringer line—was first noted as such in 1187; see Rolf Götz, Wege und Irrwege frühneuzeitlicher Historiographie: Genealogisches Sammeln zu einer Stammfolge der Herzöge von Teck im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2007), 119, 195. Only from the mid-fourteenth century onwards are the Zimmern wives’ names well documented. See Detlev Schwennicke, ed., Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten (Marburg: J. A. Stargardt, 1993), vol. 12, tables 83–84.

  31. 31. Iron fittings bordering the painted panel indicate lost hinged wings or shutters, which may have held viewing apertures (Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 24–25, fig. 8).

  32. 32. Gabriele Heidenreich, Schloss Meßkirch: Repräsentation adeligen Herrschaftsbewusstseins im 16. Jahrhundert (Tübingen: Bibliotheca-Academica, 1998), 126.

  33. 33. The eldest brother, Veit Werner (1479–1499), predeceased the social elevation.

  34. 34. See Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, vol. 16, tables 4 and 99.

  35. 35. For Amalia’s maternal lineage through Johanna von Bavaria-Landshut (1413–1444), see the Wittelsbach family tree in Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, vol. 1.1, table 104.

  36. 36. Chronik, 1:91–94; Cod. Don. 580a, 80ff; and Cod. Don. 580b, 1423–24 (see above, note 29).

  37. 37. The forest setting may be held as an example of the “green world” topos in the Renaissance literary imagination, an alternate, fictional world intended “to offer a clarified image of the world it replaces,” as posed by Harry Berger, Jr., Second World and Green World: Studies in Renaissance Fiction-making (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 111.

  38. 38. Chronik, 1:92: “ain mann gar in ernstlicher und forchtlicher gestalt . . . disem mentschen oder mentschlichen gestalt.”

  39. 39. On late medieval Christian beliefs about the postmortem soul, see Jacques Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1990); Jean-Claude Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society, trans. Theresa Lavender Fagan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); Peter Dinzelbacher, Vision und Visionsliteratur im Mittelalter (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1981); Peter Dinzelbacher, Angst im Mittelalter: Teufels-, Todes- und Gotteserfahrung: Mentalitätsgeschichte und Ikonographie (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1996); and Eileen Gardner, Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell: A Sourcebook (New York: Garland, 1993).

  40. 40. See the argument advanced by Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 64, and echoed by Hans Harter, “Das edle Schloss Zimbre—Burg und Adel von Zimmern vom 10. bis 12. Jahrhundert,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 28–30.

  41. 41. Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 64n29, argues that as chronicle writer, Froben Christof strove to enhance his family’s reputation by embellishing its origins with a lengthier pedigree based on speculative links between his family’s name and southwest German place-names.

  42. 42. Records in the Württembergisches Hauptstaatarchiv at Stuttgart confirm Magenheim patronage of the women’s convent at Frauenzimmern (a village southwest of Heilbronn). On the convent’s historical record, see Maria M. Rückert, “Zur Inkorporation südwestdeutscher Frauenklöster in den Zisterzienserorden: Untersuchungen zu den Zisterzen der Maulbronner Filiation im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert,” Studien und Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Benediktinerordens und seiner Zweige 111 (2000): 388–90. Without an extant statute of incorporation, this former convent is not officially counted by the Cistercian Order.

  43. 43. Since Amalia died four months before her husband’s promotion, her married title of baroness remained intact.

  44. 44. Nor can they be compared with contemporaneous physiognomic portraits. Repeated retouching has rendered the original handiwork difficult to identify.

  45. 45. Egnatio Danti and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Le due regole della prospettiva practica (Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1583): https://ia802606.us.archive.org/31/items/dveregoledellapr00vign/dveregoledellapr00vign.pdf.

  46. 46. Danti and Vignola, Le due regole, 96: “Et si deue usare molta diligenza in far che la tauola, nella quale si fa la pittura, che farà il fondo della cassetta PQ, sia eccellentemente piana, atteso che ogni poco di colmo, ò concauo che ui fusse, impedirebbe che non si potesse uedere tutto quello che ui è dipinto.” Thanks to Thomas Depasquale for assistance with this translation.

  47. 47. Slightly earlier, Venetian scholar and diplomat Daniele Barbaro noted an artistic technique for concealing a picture’s true subject—unless seen from a “predetermined point” (punto determinate)—in a short chapter on “perspettiva artificialia” (constructed perspective, as opposed to natural perspective, i.e., optics), in La practica della perspettiva (Venice: Camillo and Rutilio Borgominieri, 1569), 159–60: https://ia802703.us.archive.org/24/items/gri_33125008285765/gri_33125008285765.pdf. Compare Danti and Vignola, Le due regole, 95–96.

  48. 48. While this equation is not exact, the two recollective concepts share phenomenological qualities. On Endel Tulving’s concept of episodic memory, see Johannes B. Mahr and Gergely Csibra, “Why Do We Remember? The Communicative Function of Episodic Memory,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2018): 1–16: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X17000012.

  49. 49. Compare Thomas A. Brady, Jr., “The Urban Milieu: Patricians, Nobles, Merchants: Internal Tensions and Solidarities in South German Ruling Classes at the Close of the Middle Ages,” in Social Groups and Religious Ideas in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Miriam Usher Chrisman and Otto Gründler (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University Press, 1978), 38–45; and Norbert Schindler, Rebellion, Community and Custom in Early Modern Germany, trans. Pamela E. Selwyn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

  50. 50. Codification of patrilineal inheritance and primogeniture in southern Germany destabilized families whose social status depended on privileges such as land use and honorifics.

  51. 51. See Simon Teuscher, “Male and Female Inheritance: Property Devolution, Succession, and Credit in Late Medieval Nobilities in the Southwest of the Holy Empire,” in The Economic Role of the Family in the European Economy from the 13th to the 18th Centuries/La famiglia nell’economia europea secc. XIIIXVIII, ed. Simonetta Cavaciocchi (Florence: Firenze University Press, 2009), 599–618. By the sixteenth century, nobles often sent their daughters into marriage with letters of indemnity for dowries, many of which were never resolved during the lifetimes of the widows they were intended to support (Teuscher, “Male and Female Inheritance,” 604–10).

  52. 52. Compare Wolf, Von der Chronik zum Weltbuch; with Erica Bastress-Dukehart, The Zimmern Chronicle: Nobility, Memory, and Self-representation in Sixteenth Century Germany (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 38–47, who reads both chronicle and painting as sets of riddles. For the Chronik’s persistent advocacy for prudent alliances, see Judith L. Hurwich, Noble Strategies: Marriage and Sexuality in the Zimmern Chronicle (Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2006).

  53. 53. Chronik, 3:127.

  54. 54. See Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, cat. 27. Unlike prior imperial bans, this one ordered the capture, torture, and delivery of guilty parties, not merely expulsion. Johann Werner the Elder, however, found refuge with the emperor’s son-in-law, Albrecht IV, Duke of Bavaria-Munich (1447–1508).

  55. 55. Compare Trugenberger, 750 Jahre Stadt Meßkirch, 26–31; with Marija Javor Briški, Die Zimmerische Chronik: Studien zur Komik als Medium der Dialogisierung des historischen Diskurses (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2004), 115. For a more detailed account of the events surrounding the Zimmern banishment, see Erica Bastress-Dukehart, “Family, Property, and Feeling in Early Modern German Noble Culture: The Zimmerns of Swabia,” Sixteenth Century Journal 32, no. 1 (2001): 16–19: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2671392https://doi.org/10.2307/2671392

  56. 56. The Counts of Werdenberg benefitted most from Johann Werner’s banishment.

  57. 57. Trugenberger, 750 Jahre Stadt Meßkirch, following the Chronik.

  58. 58. See Stephen Wendehorst and Siegrid Westphal, “Imperial Personnel in the Early Modern Period? Reflections on the Concept and the Contours of a Functionary Elite of the Holy Roman Empire,” in Reichspersonnel: Funktionsträger für Kaiser und Reich, ed. Anette Baumann (Cologne et al.: Böhlau, 2003), 379–98.

  59. 59. See Brady, “The Urban Milieu.”

  60. 60. Andreas Bihrer, “Habitus und Praktiken eines gelehrten Adeligen: Leben und Werk Graf Wilhelm Werners von Zimmern,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 110. In his new standing as imperial count, Wilhelm Werner advanced in 1541 to a higher judicial office, but resigned the following year. He returned as Chief Justice from 1548 through 1554.

  61. 61. Bihrer, “Habitus und Praktiken eines gelehrten Adeligen,” 109–10.

  62. 62. Chronik, 3:126–27.

  63. 63. Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812507

  64. 64. Chronik, 3:128.

  65. 65. Chronik, 3:128.

  66. 66. Brady, “The Urban Milieu,” 41.

  67. 67. The convent site’s proper name, the plural Frauenzimmern, meant a small, autonomous residential community—sometimes partitioned off within a larger building—governed by a noblewoman, and in the early-modern period, one or more women and their lodgings. Pejorative use, as for the English wench, developed after the seventeenth century.

  68. 68. The Etymologies of Isadore of Seville, trans. Stephen A. Barney et al., Book 15, part 8: “Fields (De agris),” part 4 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 314.

  69. 69. Le Goff, Birth of Purgatory, 209.

  70. 70. For other Zimmern-commissioned works of art, see Konrad, “Die Freiherren und Grafen von Zimmern,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 189–203.

  71. 71. Unlike modern notions of identity that presume (relatively) stable mental and/or physical characteristics, “identity” in this context indicates how persons were recognized or acknowledged by other subjects through resemblance (similitude).

  72. 72. Holznagel (“Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 67) argues for reading the damaged date as 1538 because the title of “Graf” (Count) is used, with Amalia’s death as terminus ante quem for an epitaph, a function that Eser had dismissed as inappropriate for the format (Schiefe Bilder, 43n12).

  73. 73. On elite memory culture, see Otto Gerhard Oexle, introduction to Memoria als Kultur (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995), 38.

  74. 74. Oexle, Memoria als Kultur, 37–38n158. See also Otto Gerhard Oexle, “Aspekte der Geschichte des Adels im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit,” in Europäischer Adel 17501950, ed. Hans-Ulrich Wehler (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990), 19–56.

  75. 75. These terms are prominent in the aggrandizing, pseudobiographical, image-laden memorial projects commissioned by the Emperor Maximilian I. See, for example, Marx Treitzsaurwein et al. Der Weiß-Kunig: eine Erzählung von den Thaten Kaiser Maximilian des Ersten (Vienna: Joseph Kurzböck, 1775). See also Jörg Jochen Berns, “Gedächtnis und Arbeitsteiligkeit: Zum gedechtnus-Konzept Maximilians im Kontext mnemonischer Programme und enzyklopädischer Modelle seiner Zeit,” in Maximilians Ruhmeswerk: Künste und Wissenschaften im Umkreis Kaiser Maximilians I., ed. Jan-Dirk Müller and Hans-Joachim Ziegler (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), 69–106 https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110351026-006; and Larry Silver, Marketing Maximilian: The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

  76. 76. As analyzed by Helmut Maurer, “Zwischen Selbständigkeit und politischer Integration: Begräbniskultur und Residenzbildung im hohen Adel des deutschen Südwestens am Beispiel der Grafen von Zimmern,” in Macht und Memoria: Begräbniskultur europäischer Oberschichten in der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Mark Hengerer (Cologne: Böhlau, 2005), 163–86.

  77. 77. Dasypodius, Voces Propemodum Universas, “Historia, Ein geschicht / erzehlung eyner geschehenen sach.”

  78. 78. Dasypodius, Voces Propemodum Universa, s.v. “Memoria.”

  79. 79. Nicholas of Cusa, “On Learned Ignorance,” trans. Jasper Hopkins, in Complete Philosophical Treatises, 1:65; Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia, in Opera Omnia: “Ita nunc sive praesentia complicat tempus. Praeteritum fuit praesens, futurum erit praesens; nihil ergo reperitur in tempore nisi praesentia ordinata. Praeteritum igitur et futurum est explicatio praesentis; praesens est omnium praesentium temporum complicatio, et praesentia tempora illius seriatim sunt explicatio, et non reperitur in ipsis nisi praesens” (2:3, 106).

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Cha, Kyung-Ho, and Markus Rautzenberg. “Einleitung: Im Theater des Sehens: Anamorphose als Bild und philosophische Metapher.” In Der entstellte Blick: Anamorphosen in Kunst, Literatur und Philosophie, edited by Kyung-Ho Cha and Markus Rautzenberg, 7–22. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2008.

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Danti, Egnatio, and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. Le due regole della prospettiva practica. Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1583. https://ia802606.us.archive.org/31/items/dveregoledellapr00vign/dveregoledellapr00vign.pdf.

Dasypodius, Petrus, ed. Voces Propemodum Universas in autoribus latinis probatis. Strasbourg: Wendelin Rihel, 1535. http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/n-77-4f-helmst-2/start.htm.

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Foister, Susan, Ashok Roy, and Martin Wyld, eds. Making and Meaning: Holbein’s Ambassadors. Exh. cat. London: National Gallery, 1998.

Gardner, Eileen. Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell: A Sourcebook. New York: Garland, 1993.

Gesner, Conrad. Thierbůch. Translated by Conrad Forer. Zurich: Christoffel Froschower [Froschauer], 1563. http://dx.doi.org/10.3931/e-rara-5027.

Götz, Rolf. Wege und Irrwege frühneuzeitlicher Historiographie: Genealogisches Sammeln zu einer Stammfolge der Herzöge von Teck im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2007.

Grootenboer, Hanneke. The Rhetoric of Perspective: Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still-Life Painting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Harter, Hans. “Das edle schloss Zimbre—Burg und Adel von Zimmern vom 10. bis 12. Jahrhundert.” In Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten: Die Grafen von Zimmern und die Kultur des schwäbischen Adels, exh. cat., edited by Casimir Bumiller, Bernhard Rüth, and Edwin Ernst Weber, 28–40. Stuttgart: Belser, 2012.

Heidenreich, Gabriele. Schloss Meßkirch: Repräsentation adeligen Herrschaftsbewusstseins im 16. Jahrhundert. Tübingen: Bibliotheca Academica, 1998.

Hensel, Thomas. “Mobile Augen: Pfade zu einer Geschichte des sich bewegenden Betrachters.” In Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst! Sehmaschine und Bilderwelten: Die Sammlung Werner Nekes, exh. cat., edited by Bodo von Dewitz, 54–63. Göttingen: Steidl, 2002.

Holznagel, Franz-Josef. “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele, lehrreiche Begegnungen mit den Ahnen und eine undankbare Wiedererweckte: Die ‘Gespenster’ des Wilhelm Werner von Zimmern (1485–1575) und ihre Funktionalisierungen.” In Gespenster: Erscheinungen, Medien, Theorien, edited by Moritz Baßler, Bettina Gruber, and Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, 55–76. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2005.

Homolka, Martina. “Konglomerat und Kuriosum: Die Zimmernsche Anamorphose: Zur Restaurierung eines perspektiven Doppelporträts und seiner Papiermaché-Ornamentik.” Restauro 104, no. 7 (1998): 480–85.

Hurwich, Judith J. Noble Strategies: Marriage and Sexuality in the Zimmern Chronicle. Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2006.

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Konrad, Bernd. “Die Freiherren und Grafen von Zimmern als ‘Kunstmäzene.ʼ” In Mäzene, Sammlern, Chronisten: Die Grafen von Zimmern und die Kultur des schwäbischen Adels, exh. cat., edited by Casimir Bumiller, Bernhard Rüth, and Edwin Ernst Weber, 189203. Stuttgart: Belser, 2012.

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List of Illustrations

Leonardo da Vinci,  Anamorphosis: Study of the Eye; on the left, Juve,  ca. 1478–1518, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Fig. 1 Leonardo da Vinci; Anamorphosis: Study of the Eye; on the left, Juvenile Face, in Codex Atlanticus; ca. 1478–1518; Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana; fol. 98r. ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy/De Agostini Picture Library/Bridgeman Images)
Southern German,  Zimmern Anamorphosis,  ca. 1535,  Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Fig. 2 Southern German; Zimmern Anamorphosis; ca. 1535; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg; inv. no. WI717; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Southern German, Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), left-side view with,  ca. 1535,  Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Fig. 3 Southern German; Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), left-side view with portrait of Wilhelm Werner, Count von Zimmern; ca. 1535; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg; inv. no. WI717; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Fig. 4 Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2), right-side view with portrait of Amalia, Landgravine von Leuchtenberg and Baroness von Zimmern (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Hans Holbein, the Younger,  Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, also kno, 1533, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 5 Hans Holbein the Younger; Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, also known as The Ambassadors; 1533; The National Gallery, London; inv. no. NG1314; (artwork in the public domain; photo © The National Gallery, London) https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/hans-holbein-the-younger-the-ambassadors
Line drawing of uneven panel surface
Fig. 6 Line drawing of uneven panel surface. (image: author)
Visible fields from the left side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.1 Visible fields from the left side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Visible fields from the right side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.2 Visible fields from the right side of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Exposed "blind spot" areas of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Fig. 7.3 Exposed "blind spot" areas of the Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2)
Detail view of chapel in center of Zimmern Anamorp,
Fig. 8 Detail view of chapel in center of Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2) ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Line drawing of anamorphic lettering and decoy lettering shaded in gray
Fig. 9 Line drawing of anamorphic lettering and decoy lettering shaded in gray. (image: author)
Detail view of eye in upper left of Zimmern Anamor,
Fig. 10 Detail view of eye in upper left of Zimmern Anamorphosis (fig. 2) ; (artwork in the public domain; photo © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)
Line drawing of Wilhelm Werner and his wife Amalia (figs. 3 and 4) as pendant portraits
Fig. 11 Line drawing pairing the two side views (figs. 3 and 4). (image: author)
Detail of inscriptions in Zimmern Anamorphosis (see figs. 3 and 4)
Fig. 12 Detail of inscriptions in Zimmern Anamorphosis (see figs. 3 and 4)
Egnatio Danti,  diagram and instructions for distorting a head in, 1583, Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute
Fig. 13 Egnatio Danti; diagram and instructions for distorting a head in profile, folio. From Egnatio Danti and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Le due regole della prospettica practica (Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1583); 1583; Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute ; 96; (artwork in the public domain)

Footnotes

  1. 1. Historians of linear perspective have often noted these sketches by Leonardo; among others, Martin Kemp, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, rev. ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 49–50; Lyle Massey, “Anamorphosis through Descartes or Perspective Gone Awry,” Renaissance Quarterly 50 (1997): 1166. https://doi.org/10.2307/3039406; This drawing of an eye represents but a fraction of Leonardo’s optical experiments.

  2. 2. William Shakespeare, King Richard II, annotated by Roma Gill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), act 2, scene 2: “Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows / which shows like grief itself, but is not so; / for sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears, / divides one thing entire to many objects; / like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon / show nothing but confusion, eyed awry / distinguish form.” This apt phrase is cited with near-ubiquity in the secondary literature on anamorphosis perspective, with notable contributions cited below.

  3. 3. The multivalent word perspective (from the Latin perspecio, perspicere, perspectum: “to see through” and “to see clearly”) was still largely synonymous with optics until late in the sixteenth century. A contemporary Latin-German dictionary equates perspicere with erkennen (to recognize). Petrus Dasypodius, ed., Voces Propemodum Universas in autoribus latinis probatis (Strasbourg: Wendelin Rihel, 1535), s.v. “Specio”: http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/n-77-4f-helmst-2/start.htm. Artists and other writers also designated techniques for creating illusionistic depth, and—especially in Italy—scenographic views of architecture (building elevations depicted at various angles) as “perspective(s),” and chose it as a key word in their publication titles until at least 1570.

  4. 4. This essay examines only the earliest type of anamorphic image: those whose optical adjustment can be achieved by sight alone, rather than requiring an external instrument, such as a mirror or lens. Device-dependent images proliferated from the 1590s onward. On the tripartite typology of “optic,” “catoptric,” and “dioptric” anamorphoses, see Jean-François Nicéron, La perspective curieuse (Paris: François Langlois, 1638): http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k105509h.

  5. 5. Jurgis Baltruŝaitis, Anamorphic Art, trans. W. J. Strachan (Anamorphoses ou perspectives curieuses, 1955; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977). Thomas Hensel astutely notes that Baltruŝaitis’s choice coincided with the commercial proliferation of “anamorphic lenses” for adapting film from wide-angle to 35mm and vice versa (“Mobile Augen: Pfade zu einer Geschichte des sich bewegenden Betrachters,” in Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst! Sehmaschine und Bilderwelten: Die Sammlung Werner Nekes, exh. cat., ed. Bodo von Dewitz [Göttingen: Steidl, 2002], 54–63). Gaspar Schott coined the term anamorphotica as a broad category of re-formable images, in a chapter on the “art of dissimulation, secret displacement and correction” (Verstellt- oder Verstaltungskunst, geheime Verstellung und Wiederzurechtbringung). See Gaspar Schott, Magia optica, vol. 1 of Magia universalis naturae et artis, trans. M. F. H. M. (1657; Frankfurt a.M.: Johann Martin Schönwetter, 1677), 88: urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10053120-4.

  6. 6. Initial research on the Zimmern Anamorphosis (its modern title) was conducted by scientific instruments curator Thomas Eser for the exhibition catalogue, Schiefe Bilder: Das Zimmernsche Anamorphose und andere Augenspiele aus den Sammlungen des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, ed. Thomas Eser (Nuremberg: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 1998). The painted dates’ third and fourth numerals are badly abraded. Due to its fragile condition, the Zimmern Anamorphosis (http://objektkatalog.gnm.de/objekt/WI717) has not been on permanent display. Thanks to Thomas Eser; and to paintings conservator Benjamin Rudolph for graciously introducing me to the object in the museum’s conservation laboratory.

  7. 7. On the museum acquisition, see Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 40. First catalogued at Nuremberg as an optical device in the collection of scientific objects in the early 1880s, the painting was never transferred to the collection of European paintings.

  8. 8. Shakespeare, Richard II, act 2, scene 2.

  9. 9. On anamorphosis as a harbinger of a non-Euclidian spatial system that pushes the representational capacity of Euclidian geometry to its limits, see Dieter Mersch, “Representation and Distortion: On the Construction of Rationality and Irrationality in Early Modern Modes of Representation,” in Instruments in Art and Science: On the Architectonics of Cultural Boundaries in the 17th Century, ed. Helmar Schramm, Ludger Schwarte, and Jan Lazardzig (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2005), 20–38. For anamorphosis as a technique for channeling social critique, see Jennifer Nelson, “Directed Leering: Social Perspective in Erhard Schön’s Anamorphic Woodcuts,” Source: Notes in the History of Art 34, no. 4 (2015): 17–22: https://www.jstor.org/stable/43668146, https://doi.org/10.1086/686282

  10. 10. Kemp, Science of Art, 50; Kyung-Ho Cha and Markus Rautzenberg, “Einleitung: Im Theater des Sehens; Anamorphose als Bild und philosophische Metapher,” in Der entstellte Blick: Anamorphosen in Kunst, Literatur und Philosophie, ed. K.-H. Cha and M. Rautzenberg (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2008), 7–22; and that volume’s essays, which situate anamorphosis in art forms characterized by movement: theater, dance, and film, as well as in traditional word/image media.

  11. 11. On theoretical and practical writings by artists and by mathematicians of the Jesuit and Minim Orders, see, among others, Massey, “Anamorphosis through Descartes” https://doi.org/10.2307/3039406; Mersch, “Representation and Distortion”; and Hanneke Grootenboer, The Rhetoric of Perspective: Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still-Life Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

  12. 12. Grootenboer, Rhetoric of Perspective, 112–33.

  13. 13. Lyle Massey, Picturing Space, Displacing Bodies: Anamorphosis in Early Modern Theories of Perspective (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007).

  14. 14. For a summary of Jacques Lacan’s statements on self-reflexive observation, see Daniel Collins, “Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer: Inverted Perspective and Construction of the Gaze,” Leonardo 25, no. 1 (1992): 73–82: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/606264. https://doi.org/10.2307/1575625, Embodied sight is also important for the recent studies noted above.

  15. 15. Offering the “anamorphic gaze” as a concept for scrutinizing deceptively illusionistic imagery, Grootenboer recommends treating nonanamorphic images to the same unconventional “mode of looking” that also applies to allegories (Rhetoric of Perspective, 132–33). See also Cha and Rautzenberg on the related “theatralization” of pictures made “kinetic” by their viewers (“Einleitung: Im Theater des Sehens,” 15); and, through the lens of cognitive science, the production of “higher-order self-related processes” through movement-based “anamorphic consciousness” in Zoltán Veres, “Hiding within Representation,” Journal of Consciousness Studies 15, no. 9 (2008), 134.

  16. 16. Exceptional for bearing the artist’s signature and date, Holbein’s Ambassadors was first documented at the Dinteville chateau at Polisy, France, in 1589, as noted by Susan Foister, Making and Meaning: Holbein’s Ambassadors, ed. Susan Foister, Ashok Roy, and Martin Wyld, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 1998), 25. On the putative transference of perspectival theory from Leonardo to Holbein and beyond, see Daniel Carmi Sherer, Anamorphosis and the Hermeneutics of Perspective from Leonardo to Hans Holbein the Younger, 14901533 (PhD diss., Harvard University, 2000): https://search.proquest.com/docview/304610107?accountid=14522.

  17. 17. For a thorough iconographic analysis of the astronomical instruments, see John North, The Ambassadors’ Secret: Holbein and the World of the Renaissance (London: Hambledon and London, 2002).

  18. 18. Susan Foister reads the painting as an expression of its subjects’ distressed mental states, which increases the weight of skull and crucifix as memento mori symbols (reminders of death). See “Death and Distortion: The Skull and the Crucifix,” in Making and Meaning: Holbein’s Ambassadors, ed. Susan Foister, Ashok Roy, and Martin Wyld, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 1998), 57.

  19. 19. This expression is inspired by the theological concept of “reconciliation [or coincidence] of opposites” coined by Nicholas of Cusa in his 1440 text, De docta ignorantia (On Learned Ignorance), and plays on Cusanus’s love of visual metaphors, such as divinity as “revealed but unrevealable vision” in De visione dei (On the Vision of God). See Nicholas of Cusa, Opera Omnia: https://urts99.uni-trier.de/cusanus/content; and Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises of Nicholas of Cusa, trans. Jasper Hopkins (Minneapolis: Arthur J. Banning, 2001), 2:717.

  20. 20. On the conservation and partial restoration of the original frame, see Martina Homolka, “Konglomerat und Kuriosum: Die Zimmernsche Anamorphose: Zur Restaurierung eines perspektiven Doppelporträts und seiner Papiermaché-Ornamentik,” Restauro 104, no. 7 (1998): 480–85.

  21. 21. As uomini illustri, men whose accomplishments are to be emulated, the two identifiable medallions represent Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (r. 1458–90), at lower left, and Ludwig V, Electoral Prince of the Palatine (1478–1544), at lower center (http://objektkatalog.gnm.de/objekt/WI717). This essay focuses, however, on the painted panel within this complex frame.

  22. 22. On the Stromberg Legendʼs sources and motifs, see Gerhard Wolf, Von der Chronik zum Weltbuch: Sinn und Anspruch südwestdeutscher Hauschroniken am Ausgang des Mittelalters (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2002), 216–19, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110874112; and Franz-Josef Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele, lehrreiche Begegnungen mit den Ahnen und eine undankbare Wiedererweckte: Die ‘Gespenster’ des Wilhelm Werner von Zimmern (1485–1575) und ihre Funktionalisierungen,” in Gespenster: Erscheinungen, Medien, Theorien, ed. Moritz Baßler, Bettina Gruber, and Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2005), 62f, n27.

  23. 23. See Eser, Schiefe Bilder. For a fuller account of the Zimmern patronage of art and literature, see Casimir Bumiller, Bernhard Rüth, and Edwin Ernst Weber, eds., Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten: Die Grafen von Zimmern und die Kultur des schwäbischen Adels, exh. cat. (Stuttgart: Belser, 2012). On the family history, see Clemens Joos, “Zimmern,” in Höfe und Residenzen im spätmittelalterlichen Reich: Ein dynastisch-topographisches Handbuch, ed. Werner Paravicini et al. (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2012), 4, pt. 2:1766–76, with extensive literature.

  24. 24. On the role of exhortation in the Zimmern legends, see Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 67.

  25. 25. The Zimmern Anamorphosis may have been initially displayed in the renowned, uncatalogued Wunderkammer assembled by Wilhelm Werner von Zimmern before it was dispersed just after 1594. Along with ancient coins, medallions, and a Latin and German library, the collection primarily held naturalia and mirabilia: stones, bones (i.e., relics), horns, and “antiquiteten und abentheür” (wondrous, valuable old things), as noted by Conrad Gesner, Thierbůch, trans. Conrad Forer (Zurich: Christoffel Froschower, 1563), fols. 65r, 67r: http://dx.doi.org/10.3931/e-rara-5027. On the provenance of other Zimmern commissions, see Bernd Konrad, “Die Freiherren und Grafen von Zimmern als ‘Kunstmäzene,’” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 189–203.

  26. 26. Joos, “Zimmern,” 4, pt. 2:1768, 1799. The object in question was listed as a “hilzene perspectivtafel mit Carolo quinto und herr graff Wilhelm zu Zimmern” (wooden perspective-panel with [Emperor] Charles V and Lord Count Wilhelm von Zimmern). Minus any imperial portrait, the painting was first inventoried at Nuremberg in 1881/82 (book WI 1–1921) as a “mirror image painted on wood” (Spiegelbild auf Holz gemalt). See Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 40n2.

  27. 27. Eser, Schiefe Bilder, supplies the prevailing iconographic interpretation.

  28. 28. On the persistence of bilde in reference to mental imagery in the context of high- and late-medieval courtly love texts (a genre championed by the nobility in general and the Zimmern in particular), see Horst Wenzel, Spiegelungen: Zur Kultur der Visualität im Mittelalter (Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2009), 12.

  29. 29. The figures were first identified by Eser, Schiefe Bilder, from the account of the clan’s ancestry in its chronicle. See Froben Christoph, Count von Zimmern, Die Chronik der Grafen von Zimmern: Handschriften 580 und 581 der Fürstlich Fürstenbergischen Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen, 3 vols, ed. Hansmartin Decker-Hauff and Rudolf Seigel (Constance: Jan Thorbecke, 1964–72), 2:71. Compare the two-volume manuscript of 1564–66, Froben Christoph, Count von Zimmern, Zimmer’sche Chronik, transcribed by Johannes Müller (Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod. Don. 580a/580b): http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/purl/bsz353085545 and http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/purl/bsz353087033. Citations from the chronicle (henceforth Chronik) below follow the Decker-Hauff and Seigel edition. See also Casimir Bumiller, “Die Herren und Grafen von Zimmern—Eine exemplarische oder eine extraordinäre Geschichte?” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 18.

  30. 30. The Chronik identifies Elisabeth thus, although the Teck duchy—an extension of the Zähringer line—was first noted as such in 1187; see Rolf Götz, Wege und Irrwege frühneuzeitlicher Historiographie: Genealogisches Sammeln zu einer Stammfolge der Herzöge von Teck im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2007), 119, 195. Only from the mid-fourteenth century onwards are the Zimmern wives’ names well documented. See Detlev Schwennicke, ed., Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten (Marburg: J. A. Stargardt, 1993), vol. 12, tables 83–84.

  31. 31. Iron fittings bordering the painted panel indicate lost hinged wings or shutters, which may have held viewing apertures (Eser, Schiefe Bilder, 24–25, fig. 8).

  32. 32. Gabriele Heidenreich, Schloss Meßkirch: Repräsentation adeligen Herrschaftsbewusstseins im 16. Jahrhundert (Tübingen: Bibliotheca-Academica, 1998), 126.

  33. 33. The eldest brother, Veit Werner (1479–1499), predeceased the social elevation.

  34. 34. See Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, vol. 16, tables 4 and 99.

  35. 35. For Amalia’s maternal lineage through Johanna von Bavaria-Landshut (1413–1444), see the Wittelsbach family tree in Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, vol. 1.1, table 104.

  36. 36. Chronik, 1:91–94; Cod. Don. 580a, 80ff; and Cod. Don. 580b, 1423–24 (see above, note 29).

  37. 37. The forest setting may be held as an example of the “green world” topos in the Renaissance literary imagination, an alternate, fictional world intended “to offer a clarified image of the world it replaces,” as posed by Harry Berger, Jr., Second World and Green World: Studies in Renaissance Fiction-making (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 111.

  38. 38. Chronik, 1:92: “ain mann gar in ernstlicher und forchtlicher gestalt . . . disem mentschen oder mentschlichen gestalt.”

  39. 39. On late medieval Christian beliefs about the postmortem soul, see Jacques Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1990); Jean-Claude Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society, trans. Theresa Lavender Fagan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); Peter Dinzelbacher, Vision und Visionsliteratur im Mittelalter (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1981); Peter Dinzelbacher, Angst im Mittelalter: Teufels-, Todes- und Gotteserfahrung: Mentalitätsgeschichte und Ikonographie (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1996); and Eileen Gardner, Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell: A Sourcebook (New York: Garland, 1993).

  40. 40. See the argument advanced by Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 64, and echoed by Hans Harter, “Das edle Schloss Zimbre—Burg und Adel von Zimmern vom 10. bis 12. Jahrhundert,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 28–30.

  41. 41. Holznagel, “Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 64n29, argues that as chronicle writer, Froben Christof strove to enhance his family’s reputation by embellishing its origins with a lengthier pedigree based on speculative links between his family’s name and southwest German place-names.

  42. 42. Records in the Württembergisches Hauptstaatarchiv at Stuttgart confirm Magenheim patronage of the women’s convent at Frauenzimmern (a village southwest of Heilbronn). On the convent’s historical record, see Maria M. Rückert, “Zur Inkorporation südwestdeutscher Frauenklöster in den Zisterzienserorden: Untersuchungen zu den Zisterzen der Maulbronner Filiation im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert,” Studien und Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Benediktinerordens und seiner Zweige 111 (2000): 388–90. Without an extant statute of incorporation, this former convent is not officially counted by the Cistercian Order.

  43. 43. Since Amalia died four months before her husband’s promotion, her married title of baroness remained intact.

  44. 44. Nor can they be compared with contemporaneous physiognomic portraits. Repeated retouching has rendered the original handiwork difficult to identify.

  45. 45. Egnatio Danti and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Le due regole della prospettiva practica (Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1583): https://ia802606.us.archive.org/31/items/dveregoledellapr00vign/dveregoledellapr00vign.pdf.

  46. 46. Danti and Vignola, Le due regole, 96: “Et si deue usare molta diligenza in far che la tauola, nella quale si fa la pittura, che farà il fondo della cassetta PQ, sia eccellentemente piana, atteso che ogni poco di colmo, ò concauo che ui fusse, impedirebbe che non si potesse uedere tutto quello che ui è dipinto.” Thanks to Thomas Depasquale for assistance with this translation.

  47. 47. Slightly earlier, Venetian scholar and diplomat Daniele Barbaro noted an artistic technique for concealing a picture’s true subject—unless seen from a “predetermined point” (punto determinate)—in a short chapter on “perspettiva artificialia” (constructed perspective, as opposed to natural perspective, i.e., optics), in La practica della perspettiva (Venice: Camillo and Rutilio Borgominieri, 1569), 159–60: https://ia802703.us.archive.org/24/items/gri_33125008285765/gri_33125008285765.pdf. Compare Danti and Vignola, Le due regole, 95–96.

  48. 48. While this equation is not exact, the two recollective concepts share phenomenological qualities. On Endel Tulving’s concept of episodic memory, see Johannes B. Mahr and Gergely Csibra, “Why Do We Remember? The Communicative Function of Episodic Memory,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2018): 1–16: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X17000012.

  49. 49. Compare Thomas A. Brady, Jr., “The Urban Milieu: Patricians, Nobles, Merchants: Internal Tensions and Solidarities in South German Ruling Classes at the Close of the Middle Ages,” in Social Groups and Religious Ideas in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Miriam Usher Chrisman and Otto Gründler (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University Press, 1978), 38–45; and Norbert Schindler, Rebellion, Community and Custom in Early Modern Germany, trans. Pamela E. Selwyn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

  50. 50. Codification of patrilineal inheritance and primogeniture in southern Germany destabilized families whose social status depended on privileges such as land use and honorifics.

  51. 51. See Simon Teuscher, “Male and Female Inheritance: Property Devolution, Succession, and Credit in Late Medieval Nobilities in the Southwest of the Holy Empire,” in The Economic Role of the Family in the European Economy from the 13th to the 18th Centuries/La famiglia nell’economia europea secc. XIIIXVIII, ed. Simonetta Cavaciocchi (Florence: Firenze University Press, 2009), 599–618. By the sixteenth century, nobles often sent their daughters into marriage with letters of indemnity for dowries, many of which were never resolved during the lifetimes of the widows they were intended to support (Teuscher, “Male and Female Inheritance,” 604–10).

  52. 52. Compare Wolf, Von der Chronik zum Weltbuch; with Erica Bastress-Dukehart, The Zimmern Chronicle: Nobility, Memory, and Self-representation in Sixteenth Century Germany (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 38–47, who reads both chronicle and painting as sets of riddles. For the Chronik’s persistent advocacy for prudent alliances, see Judith L. Hurwich, Noble Strategies: Marriage and Sexuality in the Zimmern Chronicle (Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2006).

  53. 53. Chronik, 3:127.

  54. 54. See Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, cat. 27. Unlike prior imperial bans, this one ordered the capture, torture, and delivery of guilty parties, not merely expulsion. Johann Werner the Elder, however, found refuge with the emperor’s son-in-law, Albrecht IV, Duke of Bavaria-Munich (1447–1508).

  55. 55. Compare Trugenberger, 750 Jahre Stadt Meßkirch, 26–31; with Marija Javor Briški, Die Zimmerische Chronik: Studien zur Komik als Medium der Dialogisierung des historischen Diskurses (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2004), 115. For a more detailed account of the events surrounding the Zimmern banishment, see Erica Bastress-Dukehart, “Family, Property, and Feeling in Early Modern German Noble Culture: The Zimmerns of Swabia,” Sixteenth Century Journal 32, no. 1 (2001): 16–19: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2671392https://doi.org/10.2307/2671392

  56. 56. The Counts of Werdenberg benefitted most from Johann Werner’s banishment.

  57. 57. Trugenberger, 750 Jahre Stadt Meßkirch, following the Chronik.

  58. 58. See Stephen Wendehorst and Siegrid Westphal, “Imperial Personnel in the Early Modern Period? Reflections on the Concept and the Contours of a Functionary Elite of the Holy Roman Empire,” in Reichspersonnel: Funktionsträger für Kaiser und Reich, ed. Anette Baumann (Cologne et al.: Böhlau, 2003), 379–98.

  59. 59. See Brady, “The Urban Milieu.”

  60. 60. Andreas Bihrer, “Habitus und Praktiken eines gelehrten Adeligen: Leben und Werk Graf Wilhelm Werners von Zimmern,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 110. In his new standing as imperial count, Wilhelm Werner advanced in 1541 to a higher judicial office, but resigned the following year. He returned as Chief Justice from 1548 through 1554.

  61. 61. Bihrer, “Habitus und Praktiken eines gelehrten Adeligen,” 109–10.

  62. 62. Chronik, 3:126–27.

  63. 63. Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812507

  64. 64. Chronik, 3:128.

  65. 65. Chronik, 3:128.

  66. 66. Brady, “The Urban Milieu,” 41.

  67. 67. The convent site’s proper name, the plural Frauenzimmern, meant a small, autonomous residential community—sometimes partitioned off within a larger building—governed by a noblewoman, and in the early-modern period, one or more women and their lodgings. Pejorative use, as for the English wench, developed after the seventeenth century.

  68. 68. The Etymologies of Isadore of Seville, trans. Stephen A. Barney et al., Book 15, part 8: “Fields (De agris),” part 4 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 314.

  69. 69. Le Goff, Birth of Purgatory, 209.

  70. 70. For other Zimmern-commissioned works of art, see Konrad, “Die Freiherren und Grafen von Zimmern,” in Bumiller, Rüth, and Weber, Mäzene, Sammler, Chronisten, 189–203.

  71. 71. Unlike modern notions of identity that presume (relatively) stable mental and/or physical characteristics, “identity” in this context indicates how persons were recognized or acknowledged by other subjects through resemblance (similitude).

  72. 72. Holznagel (“Ignorierte Warnungen armer Seele,” 67) argues for reading the damaged date as 1538 because the title of “Graf” (Count) is used, with Amalia’s death as terminus ante quem for an epitaph, a function that Eser had dismissed as inappropriate for the format (Schiefe Bilder, 43n12).

  73. 73. On elite memory culture, see Otto Gerhard Oexle, introduction to Memoria als Kultur (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995), 38.

  74. 74. Oexle, Memoria als Kultur, 37–38n158. See also Otto Gerhard Oexle, “Aspekte der Geschichte des Adels im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit,” in Europäischer Adel 17501950, ed. Hans-Ulrich Wehler (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990), 19–56.

  75. 75. These terms are prominent in the aggrandizing, pseudobiographical, image-laden memorial projects commissioned by the Emperor Maximilian I. See, for example, Marx Treitzsaurwein et al. Der Weiß-Kunig: eine Erzählung von den Thaten Kaiser Maximilian des Ersten (Vienna: Joseph Kurzböck, 1775). See also Jörg Jochen Berns, “Gedächtnis und Arbeitsteiligkeit: Zum gedechtnus-Konzept Maximilians im Kontext mnemonischer Programme und enzyklopädischer Modelle seiner Zeit,” in Maximilians Ruhmeswerk: Künste und Wissenschaften im Umkreis Kaiser Maximilians I., ed. Jan-Dirk Müller and Hans-Joachim Ziegler (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), 69–106 https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110351026-006; and Larry Silver, Marketing Maximilian: The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

  76. 76. As analyzed by Helmut Maurer, “Zwischen Selbständigkeit und politischer Integration: Begräbniskultur und Residenzbildung im hohen Adel des deutschen Südwestens am Beispiel der Grafen von Zimmern,” in Macht und Memoria: Begräbniskultur europäischer Oberschichten in der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Mark Hengerer (Cologne: Böhlau, 2005), 163–86.

  77. 77. Dasypodius, Voces Propemodum Universas, “Historia, Ein geschicht / erzehlung eyner geschehenen sach.”

  78. 78. Dasypodius, Voces Propemodum Universa, s.v. “Memoria.”

  79. 79. Nicholas of Cusa, “On Learned Ignorance,” trans. Jasper Hopkins, in Complete Philosophical Treatises, 1:65; Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia, in Opera Omnia: “Ita nunc sive praesentia complicat tempus. Praeteritum fuit praesens, futurum erit praesens; nihil ergo reperitur in tempore nisi praesentia ordinata. Praeteritum igitur et futurum est explicatio praesentis; praesens est omnium praesentium temporum complicatio, et praesentia tempora illius seriatim sunt explicatio, et non reperitur in ipsis nisi praesens” (2:3, 106).

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2018.10.2.2
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Marta Faust, "“Eyed Awry”: Blind Spots and Memoria in the Zimmern Anamorphosis," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 10:2 (Summer 2018) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2018.10.2.2