Visual Culture and Mathematics in the Early Modern Period: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Visual Culture and Mathematics in the Early Modern Period

1st Edition

Edited by Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes


204 pages | 36 B/W Illus.

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During the early modern period there was a natural correspondence between how artists might benefit from the knowledge of mathematics and how mathematicians might explore, through advances in the study of visual culture, new areas of enquiry that would uncover the mysteries of the visible world. This volume makes its contribution by offering new interdisciplinary approaches that not only investigate perspective but also examine how mathematics enriched aesthetic theory and the human mind. The contributors explore the portrayal of mathematical activity and mathematicians as well as their ideas and instruments, how artists displayed their mathematical skills and the choices visual artists made between geometry and arithmetic, as well as Euclid’s impact on drawing, artistic practice and theory. These chapters cover a broad geographical area that includes Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, France and England. The artists, philosophers and mathematicians whose work is discussed include Leon Battista Alberti, Nicholas Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino, Francesco di Giorgio, Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio, as well as Michelangelo, Galileo, Piero della Francesca, Girard Desargues, William Hogarth, Albrecht Dürer, Luca Pacioli and Raphael.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes

Part I: The Mathematical Mind and the Search for Beauty

2. Renaissance Aesthetics and Mathematics

John Hendrix

3. Design Method and Mathematics in Francesco di Giorgio’s Trattati

Angeliki Pollali

4. Mathematical and Proportion Theories in the Work of Leonardo da Vinci and Contemporary Artist/Engineers at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century

Matthew Landrus

Part II: Artists as Mathematicians

5. Durer’s Underweysung der Messung and the Geometric Construction of Alphabets

Rangsook Yoon

6. Circling the Square: The Meaningful Use of Φ and Π in the Paintings of Piero della Francesca

Perry Brooks

Part III: Euclid and Artistic Accomplishment

7. The Point and Its Line: An Early Modern History of Movement

Caroline O. Fowler

8. Between the Golden Ratio and a Semiperfect Solid: Fra Luca Pacioli and the Portrayal of Mathematical Humanism

Renzo Baldasso and John Logan

9. Mathematical Imagination in Raphael’s School of Athens

Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes

About the Editor

Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes is Lecturer in Art History at the Kunstgeschictliches Institut at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. She is an Associate Professor Emerita, University of Stavanger, Norway.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Criticism & Theory
ART / History / General
ART / European
ART / History / Renaissance
MATHEMATICS / History & Philosophy
SCIENCE / History
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects