Piero della Francesca (Hardcover)
A Mathematician's Art
Yale University Press, 9780300103427, 256pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2004
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.