Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

The Geometry of an Art

The History of the Mathematical Theory of Perspective from Alberti to Monge

Authors: Andersen, Kirsti

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About this book

This monograph describes how the understanding of the geometry behind perspective evolved between the years 1435 and 1800 and how new insights within the mathematical theory of perspective influenced the way the discipline was presented in textbooks. In order to throw light on these issues, the author has chosen to focus on a number of key questions, including:

• What were the essential innovations in the mathematical theory of perspective?

• Was there any interplay between the developments of the mathematical theory of perspective and other branches of geometry?

• What were the driving forces behind working out an advanced mathematical theory of perspective?

• Were there regional differences in the mathematical approach to perspective? And if so, how did they relate to local applications of perspective?

• How did mathematicians and practitioners of perspective interact?

In fact, the last issue is touched upon so often that a considerable part of this book could be seen as a case study of the difficulties in bridging the gap between those with mathematical knowledge and the mathematically untrained practitioners who wish to use this knowledge.

The author has based her work on more than 200 books, booklets, and pamphlets on perspective. She starts with the first treatise known to deal with geometrical perspective, Leon Alberti Battista’s De pictura, and ends around 1800, when the theory of mathematical perspective as an independent discipline was absorbed first into descriptive geometry and later into projective geometry.

The prominent protagonists are Guidobaldo del Monte, Simon Stevin, Willem ’sGravesande, Brook Taylor, and Johann Heinrich Lambert. As far as data were available, the author has provided brief biographies of all the writers on perspective whose work she studied. The book also contains an extensive bibliography divided into two parts, one for primary sources on perspective, and the second for all other literature.

Kirsti Andersen is Associate Professor of History of Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. She is the author of Brook Taylor’s Work on Linear Perspective, also published by Springer. 

Reviews

From the reviews:

"The book in question is a survey of the history of this subject … . I do not know the author, but I came to trust her voice in the book, to trust her honesty and her judgments. I appreciated the clarity of her illustrations and her concern for the reader’s understanding. I found the book to be carefully written, and I was impressed with the immense amount of work that must have gone into writing it." (Greg St. George, Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, Vol. 39, 2007)

"I was very pleased to find Kristi Andersen’s book on the history of the geometrical evolution of perspective. … Reading it from the point of view of someone who is interested in geometry as well as art, it is a fascinating book, but it also has much to offer the historian of mathematics. … it is extremely well produced and researched and makes an invaluable contribution to the literature on perspective as well as the history of geometry." (John Sharp, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Vol. 1 (4), 2007)


Table of contents (14 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $229.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-48946-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $289.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-25961-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $289.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-3846-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Geometry of an Art
Book Subtitle
The History of the Mathematical Theory of Perspective from Alberti to Monge
Authors
Series Title
Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-48946-9
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-48946-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-387-25961-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4939-3846-9
Series ISSN
2196-8810
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXXVII, 814
Topics