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copies from statues or models, he produces apparent solidity, and difference of distance from the eye, by light and shade, by the diminished size of known objects as regulated by the principles of geometrical perspective, and by those variations in distinctness and colour which constitute what has been called aerial perspective. But when all these appliances have been used in the most skilful manner, and art has exhausted its powers, we seldom, if ever, mistake the plane picture for the solid which it represents. The two eyes scan its surface, and by their distance-giving power indicate to the observer that every point of the picture is nearly at the same distance from his eye. But if the observer closes one eye, and thus deprives himself of the power of determining differences of distance by the convergency of the optical axes, the relief of the picture is increased. When the pictures are truthful photographs, in which the variations of light and shade are perfectly represented, a very considerable degree of relief and solidity is thus obtained; and when we have practised for a while this species of monocular vision, the drawing, whether it be of a statue, a living figure, or a building, will appear to rise in its different parts from the canvas, though only to a limited extent.
In these observations we refer chiefly to ordinary drawings held in the hand, or to portraits and landscapes hung in rooms and galleries, where the proximity of the observer, and lights from various directions, reveal the surface of the paper or the canvas; for in panoramic and dioramic representations, where the light, concealed from the observer, is introduced in an oblique direction, and where the distance of the picture is such that the convergency of the
optic axes loses much of its distance-giving power, the illusion is very perfect, especially when aided by correct geometrical and aerial perspective. But when the panorama is illuminated by light from various directions, and the slightest motion imparted to the canvas, its surface becomes distinctly visible, and the illusion instantly dis
The effects of stereoscopic representation are of a very different kind, and are produced by a very different cause. The singular relief which it imparts is independent of light and shade, and of geometrical as well as of aerial perspective. These important accessories, so necessary in the visual perception of the drawings in plano, avail nothing in the evolution of their relievo, or third dimension. They add, doubtless, to the beauty of the binocular pictures; but the stereoscopic creation is due solely to the superposition of the two plane pictures by the optical apparatus employed, and to the distinct and instantaneous perception of distance by the convergency of the optic axes upon the similar points of the two pictures which the stereoscope has united.
If we close one eye while looking at photographic pictures in the stereoscope, the perception of relief is still considerable, and approximates to the binocular representation; but when the pictures are mere diagrams consisting of white lines upon a black ground, or black lines upon a white ground, the relief is instantly lost by the shutting of the eye, and it is only with such binocular pictures that we see the true power of the stereoscope.
As an amusing and useful instrument the stereoscope derives much of its value from photography. The most
skilful artist would have been incapable of delineating two equal representations of a figure or a landscape as seen by two eyes, or as viewed from two different points of sight; but the binocular camera, when rightly constructed, enables us to produce and to multiply photographically the pictures which we require, with all the perfection of that interesting art. With this instrument, indeed, even before the invention of the Daguerreotype and the Talbotype, we might have exhibited temporarily upon ground glass, or suspended in the air, the most perfect stereoscopic creations, by placing a Stereoscope behind the two dissimilar pictures formed by the camera.
HISTORY OF THE STEREOSCOPE.
WHEN We look with both eyes open at a sphere, or any other solid object, we see it by uniting into one two pictures, one as seen by the right, and the other as seen by the left eye. If we hold up a thin book perpendicularly, and midway between both eyes, we see distinctly the back of it and both sides with the eyes open. When we shut the right eye we see with the left eye the back of the book and the left side of it, and when we shut the left eye we see with the right eye the back of it and the right side. The picture of the book, therefore, which we see with both eyes, consists of two dissimilar pictures united, namely, a picture of the back and the left side of the book as seen by the left eye, and a picture of the back and right side of the book as seen by the right eye.
In this experiment with the book, and in all cases where the object is near the eye, we not only see different pictures of the same object, but we see different things with each eye. Those who wear spectacles see only the left-hand spectacle-glass with the left eye, on the left side of the face, while with the right eye they see only the right-hand spectacle-glass on the right side of the face, both glasses of the spectacles being seen united midway
between the eyes, or above the nose, when both eyes are It is, therefore, a fact well known to every person of common sagacity that the pictures of bodies seen by both eyes are formed by the union of two dissimilar pictures formed by each.
This palpable truth was known and published by ancient mathematicians. Euclid knew it more than two thousand years ago, as may be seen in the 26th, 27th, and 28th theorems of his Treatise on Optics.1 In these theorems he shews that the part of a sphere seen by both eyes, and having its diameter equal to, or greater or less than the distance between the eyes, is equal to, and greater or less than a hemisphere; and having previously shewn in the 23d and 24th theorems how to find the part of any sphere that is seen by one eye at different distances, it follows, from constructing his figure, that each eye sees different portions of the sphere, and that it is seen by both eyes by the union of these two dissimilar pictures.
More than fifteen hundred years ago, the celebrated physician Galen treated the subject of binocular vision more fully than Euclid. In the twelfth chapter of the tenth book of his work, On the use of the different parts of the Human Body, he has described with great minuteness the various phenomena which are seen when we look at bodies with both eyes, and alternately with the right and the left. He shews, by diagrams, that dissimilar pictures of a body are seen in each of these three modes of viewing it; and, after finishing his demonstration, he adds,-
"But if any person does not understand these demonstra
1 Edit. of Pena, pp. 17, 18, Paris, 1577; or Opera, by Gregory, pp. 619, 620. Oxon. 1703.