Science Art: From Here, a number of broken gifts for the carpenters and lovers…., by Lorenz Stöer, 1567.

Scientific illustration of geometrical figures.
Scientific illustration of geometrical figures.

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The title here is the best I could render from the middle German “Hier Inn etliche zerbrochne Gebew, den Schreinern in eingelegter Arbeit dienstlich, auch vil andern Liebhabern zu sondern gefallen geordnet unnd gestelt.” This is the German title of a book better known as Geometria et Perspectiva.

It’s a book of geometric games done by an engraver, Lorenz Stöer. This is the 10th of 11 plates of what Public Domain Review calls “geometric landscapes,” though I discovered them while looking in the mathematics section of Wikimedia Commons.

They’ve got a translation of the German that seems a little more probable: Geometria et Perspectiva, containing various ruined buildings, useful to intarsia workers, as well as for the special pleasure of many other amateurs; ordered and arranged by Lorenz Stoer, painter and citizen of Augsburg. Apparently, there are no words in the book other than that long German title and the motto “Who would do right by everyone? No one would even try.”

The rest is 11 pictures of some very strange shapes, intended for reference by intarsia workers – the carpentry artists who inlay sections of wood to decorate floors, walls, and furniture. Apparently, a few museums have pieces of furniture bearing designs from the book. I still like the idea of broken gifts for carpenters and lovers. Has a ring to it.