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Mathematical Treasure: Arithmetica by Georg Pencz

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Georg Pencz (ca 1500–1550) was a German painter and engraver whose work encompassed portraits, religious subjects, and classical and allegorical subjects. Art historians have classified him among the “Little Masters” for the intricacy of his prints. This engraving is part of a series depicting the seven liberal arts: arithmetic, astrology, dialectic, geometry, grammar, music, and rhetoric. Note how Pencz worked in references to weights and measures as well as money in this image of Arithmetica, or Arithmetria.

The liberal art of Arithmetic, as depicted by Georg Pencz in the 16th century.

This image is available courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Arithmetica by Georg Pencz," Convergence (April 2021)