Mathematics, Geometry and Art
Leonardo was initially not well educated, especially lacking in the areas of geometry and mathematics. Over the years he worked hard to make up for his deficiencies and in Milan Leonardo studied with the famous mathematician Luca Pacioli (1447-1517). He also collaborated with him on his treatise, De divina proportione, creating illustrations of geometric solids and proportions with with ‘skeletal’ members, so as to make them transparent throughout. C. A. folio 518 recto, though not done for Pacioli’s treatise, shows a quadrilateral cubic shape using this presentation, with no occluding surfaces. Leonardo’s interest in geometry and perspective is also apparent in C. A. folio 786 recto. Perhaps a copy by a student, the drawing demonstrates the projection of a pyramid onto a flat surface. And Leonardo’s well-known fascination with an impossible mathematical problem (the squaring of a circle) is on display in C. A. folios 307 verso and 518 recto.