De Prospectiva Pingendi

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Perspective of anatomy from De Prospectiva Pingendi.
Perspective of depth from De Prospectiva Pingendi.

De Prospectiva pingendi (On the Perspective of painting) is the earliest and only pre–1500 Renaissance treatise solely devoted to the subject of perspective.[1] It was written by the Italian master Piero della Francesca late in his career but by c1474.[2] Despite its Latin title, the opus is written in Italian.

The book[edit]

The subjects covered by Piero della Francesca in these writings include arithmetic, algebra, geometry and innovative work in both solid geometry and perspective.[3][4]

The script consists of three parts:

  • Part One Disegno, describing techniques for painting faces
  • Part Two Commensurazio, describing perspectives
  • Part Three Coloro, describing techniques for creating perspectives by using colours


De Prospectiva Pingendi was probably created in the years between 1474 until 1482.[5][6][4]

The writings were inspired by the book De pictura by Leon Battista Alberti[6] written in 1435[5] but probably also by works by Euclid.[4] The manuscript later came into the possession of the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma[4] before it was transferred to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

Much of Piero’s work was later absorbed into the writing of others, notably Luca Pacioli. Piero’s work on solid geometry appears in Pacioli’s De divina proportione, a work illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci.

In 1899 the writings were first published in bookform.[7]


  1. ^ Andersen, Kirsti (2007). The Geometry of Art. New York, NY: Springer. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-387-25961-1. 
  2. ^ Kemp, Martin (1990). The Science of Art. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-300-05241-3. 
  3. ^ [1], Codices Illustres
  4. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-04-11. , Computer Animation Lab
  5. ^ a b [2], Dartmouth College
  6. ^ a b [3], Encyclopædia Britannica
  7. ^ [4], Google

External links[edit]