Title: ‘La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso’

Creator: Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700) from a drawing by Agostino Scilla (1639-1700)

Description: Title page of ‘De corporibus marinis lapidescentibus quae defossa reperiuntur’, Romae: Typis Antonii de Rubeis (1747) which contains the first Latin translation of the Italian painter Agostino Scilla’s only palaeontological (and heavily influential) work ‘La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso’ [Vain speculation undeceived by sense] (1670) in which he argued that fossils were not the magical objects many believed them to be but were petrefactions (that is fossils) of once living organisms.

The image shows a visual representation of reason [the young man holding a fossil sea urchin and shark’s tooth, pointing to a hillside covered with fossils] and speculation [the spectral figure looking at the fossils in isolation.

Date: 1670 reproduced in 1747

Format: Engraving

Image reference: 04-54

Recommended print size: Up to A4 (30 x 20cm)

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