In the Renaissance, there reappears the concept of perspective. It actively developed into the perspective geometry that enabled the implementation of the most challenging architectural constructions and even led to the most unexpected discoveries…
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The current paper, basing on the James Burke’s views (Burke, “The Day the Universe Changed”), examines the influence of mathematical inventions, particularly perspective geometry, on the development of the society during the Renaissance. Manuel Chrysoloras, Byzantine scholar, was invited to present the Greek culture to the Florentines start the course of Greek in the local university in the end of the 14th century (Burke 67). Money ran Florence during that time. The place was full of commercials of different kind: accountants, merchants, bureaucrats. However, there was no aristocracy in Florence. Everyone who had power or position in the town had bought it out of his profits. Florence was dynamic republican “capitalist” company town. The same year Chrysoloras arrived, the Medici had started an international bank to lend the Florentine cash with double interest rate. They had branches all over Europe. They were successful in this activity due to their secret weapon “double-entry bookkeeping” (Burke 61). There was no place the money could not get the possessor, but up. The problem was that there was no “up”. James Burke had in mind the material luxury, “the touch of class” that, first of all, had to be manifested in town’s architecture and décor....
Reading the Latin pre-Christian texts of poetry, rhetoric, history, and civics the Florentines began to understand that humans could live in human way without heavenly help. Hence originates the desire of the 15th century Florentines to imitate Latin style, particularly Roman remarkable architectural solutions to make their home look as fine as ancient Rome. However, they could not do all that architectural constructions like ancient triumph arches, giant columns, and domed ceilings. The abilities of the post-medieval mathematics and geometry were limited to estimate the architectural solutions. There was a sharp need in some mathematical innovations (Burke, “The Day the Universe Changed”). Before we discuss the invention of perspective geometry in the Western world, Arabic scholar Alhazen has to be mentioned. In the end of the 10th century, he was the first to explain accurately the process of visual perception and showed that the eye perceives the light reflected from the object. Alhazen developed a complete theory of vision that was called “perspective” in the Middle Ages (Struik 72). Though, he did not use his ideas in practice, his theory received a wide recognition in Europe, where his ideas rocked the Renaissance scholars. The first precise formulation of the law of the perspective geometry is attributed to Brunelleschi. Nearly 1424, he realized that on the flatness all parallel lines strive to a single vanishing point. This mathematical principle was inspired by Paolo Toscanelli who had scrupulously studied the Alhazen works and gridded Ptolemy’s Atlas. In this respect, using an arsenal of mathematical theories to build a proper perspective, he painted on wooden panel St. John’s baptistery of Florence. To emphasize the accuracy of his
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“The Role and Development of Mathematics in Western Technology Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1461717-the-role-and-development-of-mathematics-in-western-technology.
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