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Mathematical Treasure: Albrecht Durer on Geometry

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Albrecht Dürer’s Institutionum Geometricarum was published in Paris in 1535 and again in 1606. Title pages from each edition are shown below. The book provided instruction in geometry and applications of geometry in construction and design. The complete work can be viewed in the digital collection of the Bavarian State Library.

The frontispiece in these books illustrates the methods of projection then in use to duplicate scenes.

The text begins with basic concepts such as lines, cubes, and spheres.

In the second book of his Geometry, Dürer discussed tessellations.

The geometric design of lettering as applied to public buildings and monuments was an important topic for artists and craftsmen of the period.

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the Bavarian State Library.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Albrecht Durer on Geometry," Convergence (July 2018)