The Mathematical Works of Leon Battista Alberti

Editors: Williams, Kim, March, Lionel, Wassell, Stephen R. (Eds.)

  • A collection of Alberti’s four mathematical treatises, intended to capture Alberti’s unique combination of formal and informal writing, will be available for the first time to an English-speaking readership
  • Commentary with illustrations sets Alberti’s mathematical works in their proper historical and cultural context, as well as collocate them within the entire range of Alberti’s architectural and literary works
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Hardcover $129.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-0346-0473-4
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Softcover $129.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-0348-0747-0
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About this book

Leon Battista Alberti (1404¬–1472) was a highly prolific polymath of the fifteenth century. Although his contributions to architecture and the visual arts are well known and available in good English editions, as are many of his literary and social writings, his mathematical works are not well represented. This present volume was planned to fill that gap, with entirely new English translations and critical commentaries making the works easily accessible for a wide readership of specialists and non-specialists alike. Four texts are included here. Although Alberti’s Commentarii rerum mathematicarum appears to be lost, we have his Ludi matematici . In these “games” Alberti describes twenty practical applications of mathematics in an accessible style. The translation is accompanied by a new transcript of the recently identified manuscript held in the National Library in Florence upon which it was based. In Elementi di pittura, Alberti provides a catalogue of definitions and geometric constructions, using Euclidean references but drawing a distinction between theoria of mathematical entities and praxis of painterly applications. Alberti’s most original mathematical contribution is a late work, De compendis cifris, first discussing the frequency of vowels, consonants, and different groupings in Latin, and then introducing a method of polyalphabetic substitution. Even more original is his enciphered code which permutes four numerals in two-, three-, and four-digit groups. De lunularum quadratura rehearses the classical demonstration of squaring a lune by Hippocrates.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“The book under review contains, in parallel translation and with extensive commentary, Alberti’s short treatise On Painting. … The commentaries in the book are thorough and interesting. … a useful source for project work in the history of mathematics, parts of it being well suited to students with only modest mathematical understanding; others, such as the areas of lunes, leading into demanding ideas from later times.” (Peter Giblin, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 96 (536), March, 2012)

Table of contents (5 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Williams, Kim (et al.)

    Pages 1-8

  • Leon Battista Alberti, Ex ludis rerum mathematicarum

    Williams, Kim (et al.)

    Pages 9-140

  • Leon Battista Alberti, Elementi di pittura

    Williams, Kim (et al.)

    Pages 141-168

  • Leon Battista Alberti, De componendis cifris

    Williams, Kim (et al.)

    Pages 169-200

  • Leon Battista Alberti, De lunularum quadratura

    Williams, Kim (et al.)

    Pages 201-212

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-0346-0474-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-0346-0473-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-0348-0747-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Mathematical Works of Leon Battista Alberti
Editors
  • Kim Williams
  • Lionel March
  • Stephen R. Wassell
Copyright
2010
Publisher
Birkhäuser Basel
Copyright Holder
Springer Basel AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-0346-0474-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-0346-0474-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-0346-0473-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-0348-0747-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 221
Topics