Noam Andrews

In his book The Polyhedrists, Noam Andrews traces the development of the relationship between art and geometry in early modern Europe. He does this primarily through the work of a group of innovative artisan artists, including Luca Pacioli, Albrecht Dürer, Wenzel Jamnitzer, and Lorentz Stöer, as well as through a thorough analysis of a wide range of their visual output, which includes paintings, prints, decorative arts, furniture, and lavishly, However, there is also a history of art in the polyhedra themselves, which are a collection of geometrical shapes that are both Platonic, or regular, like the straightforward tetrahedron, and Archimedean, or irregular, like the intricate yet alluring rhombicosidodecahedron.

The Polyhedrists also make the case that the geometrical representations of Dürer, Jamnitzer, and others were more than just perspective-related follies, at odds with the popular perception of the Renaissance, and destined to be supplanted by later advances in higher-level mathematics. In actuality, the development of solids into countless “irregular bodies” represented a significant turning point in the development of mathematical knowledge during the Renaissance and its interaction with materiality. The intense field of experimentation would eventually pave the way for advancements in geometry and topology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, even anticipating the more recent digital turn. It would also give birth to a new language of geometrical abstraction that would spark a century of novel form-making techniques. This way, the book serves as both an applied history of geometry and a particular geometric reading of some of the most well-known artists of early modernism. It also serves as a sort of manifesto into the as-yet uncharted territories of art and science.”