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A maths book from a painter

December 7, 2016

The Renaissance Mathematicus

One of my interests is the development of scientific publishing following the invention of moving type printing in the middle of the 15th century. The first real maths book, that is excluding reckoning books which are textbooks for commercial arithmetic, to be printed and published in German was written by the artist Albrecht Dürer who was born 540 years ago on the 21st May 1471.

Born in Nürnberg the son of a Hungarian goldsmith he originally started to learn this trade with his father but then apprenticed to the leading Nürnberger artist Martin Wolgemut. As a journey man painter and printmaker he made his first journey to Italy from 1494 to 1495 where he learnt much about the new Renaissance style of Italian art and in particular the then still relatively new method of linear perspective. Dürer became convinced that this mathematically based style of composition was the…

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