Part IV: Examples from the Works of Boromini and Leonardo da Vinci

The collonnade of the Annunciation is a mathematical -- and artistic -- tour de force, and is reminiscent of the architectural tromp l'oeil of an actual "perspective" collonade in the Palazzo Spada, fashioned by Galileo's contemporary, Boromini, in Rome.

Here you can see the long colonnaded portico, with a monumental sculpture in the distance.

But this is actually an illusion, a trick of the eye played with the help of mathematical perspective, and the trick is revealed as these two figures of equal height show the perspective at work.

You can obtain a video clip of a zoom into and out of this colonnade by clicking on this link.

Mathematics was equally important to Renaissance artists in determining the correct proportions for the figures they drew. Leonardo da Vinci followed such principles explicitly, measuring not only the proper proportions of the human head,

But the dimensions of the various parts of the anatomy of the horse as well.

This was all embodied literally in the most complete visual statement of the harmony between mathematics and nature his famous drawing of the human figure, proportioned in keeping with the architectural perfection the square and circle.

Go on to the next section: Part V: The School of Athens

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