Part III: The Importance of Mathematics to Renaissance Art

While we cannot know how far Brunelleschi intellectualized his system mathematically, it was not long before a decisive step was taken by Leon Battista Alberti,

who published a treatise on perspective, Della Pitture, in 1435. Once Alberti's treatise was published, knowledge of perspective no longer had to be passed on by word of mouth. For some it became a matter of consuming artistic, even philosophical interest.

Among the best examples is Uccello's fresco of the "Deluge" in Florence, completed about 1448.

Here linear perspective is used to present an elaborate architectural setting. The real object of fascination, however, is Uccello's rendering of the mazzocchi, the curious checkered hats, of which there are two in "The Deluge."

Ucello had actually drawn such wonderful polyhedral forms in studies of perspective drawings,

and these clearly demonstrate the mastery he had of the new mathematical techniques.

The culmination of the mathematical theory of perspective with a philosophical program of the most intense and religious order comes with the work of Piero della Francesca. His St. Anthony's Polyptich, in Perrugia, shows how masterfully he was able to use the new theory of perspective.

Go on to the next section: Part IV: Examples from the Work of Boromini and Leonardo da Vinci

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