'The Polyhedrists' (MIT Press, 2022) is a manifesto into the hitherto unexplored wilds of art and science. In this book, Noam Andrews unfolds a history of the relationship between art and geometry in early modern Europe, told through a collective of ground-breaking artisan-artists that includes Luca Pacioli, Albrecht Dürer, Wenzel Jamnitzer, and Lorentz Stöer.
The book focuses on the representation of solids that proliferated in particular throughout the sixteenth century, and migrated from mathematical treatises to paintings, prints, drawings, and decorative arts. The evolution of the solids from the Platonic models into innumerable “irregular bodies” constituted a sustained moment in the formulation of Renaissance mathematical knowledge and its engagement with materiality. This intense field of experimentation would birth a new language of geometrical abstraction that would ignite a century of novel form-making strategies, ultimately paving the way for developments in geometry and topology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and even prefiguring the more recent digital turn.
This event is part of the Director's Seminar series, which brings leading scholars and writers to the Institute to share new work and fresh perspectives on key issues in their fields.
Noam Andrews is the author of 'The Polyhedrists: Art and Geometry in the Long Sixteenth Century' (MIT Press 2022). Based in Brussels, he received his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University, and degrees in architecture from Cornell University and the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He has taught at Ghent University in Belgium, New York University, and as Diploma Master at the Architectural Association, and has been the recipient of fellowships from Research Foundation Flanders, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Villa I Tatti - Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Pierre Von-Ow is Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at Yale University. His dissertation project explores histories of perspective in early modern Britain and its empire.