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Piero della Francesca: A Mathematician's Art
     

Piero della Francesca: A Mathematician's Art

by J.V. Field, Piero, J. V. Field
 

Piero della Francesca, one of the greatest painters of the fifteenth century, was also an accomplished mathematician. This book—the first combined study of Piero’s work as a mathematician and as a painter—explores the connections between these two activities and thus enhances our understanding of both his paintings and his writings.

J. V. Field

Overview

Piero della Francesca, one of the greatest painters of the fifteenth century, was also an accomplished mathematician. This book—the first combined study of Piero’s work as a mathematician and as a painter—explores the connections between these two activities and thus enhances our understanding of both his paintings and his writings.

J. V. Field begins by describing Piero’s education, family background, and training as a painter. The book then examines the strong sense of three-dimensional form shown in his art and the abstract solid geometry discussed in his writings. Field next considers Piero’s treatise on perspective and paintings that exemplify the prescriptions it provides and assesses the optical or pictorial “rules” Piero followed as a painter. Piero is identified as a figure of some intellectual weight—as a learned craftsman. The book concludes by considering the historical significance of the tradition to which he belonged and its connections with the Scientific Revolution.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Field (honorary visiting research fellow, Birkbeck Coll., Univ. of London) here tries to make a connection between Piero Della Francesca's work as a mathematician and as an early Renaissance painter in order to increase our understanding of both his art and his writings. To that end, the author explores della Francesca's treatise on mathematics, relates it to his art, and frames it sociologically. Why painters are interested in these theorems is explained as well. Machine-assisted investigations (i.e., computers) test della Francesca's math theorems, and physiological optics (rules for seeing) is contrasted with geometrical optics (Euclid's math). However, it's not all math for the author-he knows that supplemental information is needed to analyze the art well (e.g., intended viewing distance, who commissioned the work). Here's hoping readers can become true renaissance types. Although this reviewer lacks muster for an in-depth understanding of the mathematics involved, Field's book is well crafted, researched, and documented. Recommended for libraries specializing in mathematics, sciences, and art history.-Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300103427
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/10/2005
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

J. V. Field is honorary visiting research fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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