The Invention of Infinity: Mathematics and Art in the Renaissance 1st Edition
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`Field's book is indeed a shot of adrenaline in the timid arm of Renaissance art history. Trained as both an art historian and a mathematician, Field plunges right in with a rigorous analysis of the fifteenth-century Italian painter Piero della Francesca's manuscript treatises on
About the Author
About the Author:
Dr. J.V. Field is a Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Art at Birkbeck College, University of London.
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 22, 1997)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0198523947
- ISBN-13 : 978-0198523949
- Item Weight : 1.55 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.75 x 0.95 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This is basically a scholarly book, but at times one gets the impression that Field is more interested in showing off pretty pictures and telling amusing side stories rather than explaining the development of ideas on perspective in a clear and structured manner. One of the largest images is a full page reproduction of Titian's portrait of Ranuccio Farnese (p. 153), which has nothing to do with perspective except that the subject once had a book dedicated to him. Why not use the space for more relevant paintings instead? For example, Piero della Francesca's An Ideal Town would go beautifully with the discussion of his perspective treatise. Discussing Taylor's work on perspective, Field remarks that Taylor introduced the term "vanishing point" but then says "Taylor does not quite explain what is supposed to vanish at the vanishing point ... The readers he was addressing were presumably not expected to be so literal minded as to ask that question" (p. 229). I would say that more probably the readers were not expected to be so stupid as to fail to grasp this very simple concept by themselves; but that aside: if Field had wanted to explain ideas rather than to poke fun at people, she could simply have quoted from Taylor's 1719 edition, where, on page 15, he explains: "the further any object is off, upon any line, the smaller is its projection ... and when it comes to this point, its magnitude vanishes, because the original object is at an infinite distance. This is easily conceived by imagining a man to be going from you in a long walk, who appears to be smaller and smaller, the further he goes." (Incidentally, this would also have made clear that, to Taylor at least, a vanishing point is not the same as a centric point, as Field mistakenly implies.)