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Allegory of Arithmetic, from Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch

Allegory of Arithmetic, from Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch


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Allegory of Arithmetic, from Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch

CHT162794 Allegory of Arithmetic, from Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch, 1503 (woodcut) by Reisch, Gregor (d.1525); Bibliotheque de la Faculte de Medecine, Paris, France; (add.info.: Pythagoras (c.580-500 BC) calculating with counters and Boethius (c.480-524 AD) with numbers; Anicius Manlius Severinus, Roman philosopher and statesman; the Margarita Philosophica was an Encyclopedia of knowledge intended as a text-book for youthful students, containing in twelve books Latin grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, physics, natural history, physiology, psychology, and ethics; extremely popular late medieval and Renaissance textbook in schools and universities; Gregor Reisch (1467-1525) German Carthusian humanist and writer;
); eArchives Charmet; German, out of copyright

Media ID 22605070

© Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images

Adding Boece Calculating Calculation Calculations Humanism Humanist Late Medieval Mathematics Maths Philosophy Pythagore Pythagorean


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EDITORS COMMENTS
This woodcut print, titled "Allegory of Arithmetic" is a visual representation of the Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch. Created in 1503, this artwork showcases two prominent figures engaged in mathematical calculations. In the foreground, we see Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher, deep in thought as he calculates using counters. Known for his groundbreaking work on geometry and the famous Pythagorean theorem, Pythagoras represents the foundations of arithmetic. Beside him stands Boethius, a Roman philosopher and statesman from the 6th century AD. He is depicted working with numbers to solve complex equations. Boethius was renowned for translating and preserving many works of Greek philosophy during a time when such knowledge was at risk of being lost. The Margarita Philosophica itself was an encyclopedia designed as a comprehensive textbook for young students. It covered various subjects including Latin grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, music, astronomy, physics, natural history, psychology, and ethics. This book became immensely popular during medieval times and throughout the Renaissance period. Gregor Reisch's woodcut brilliantly captures not only these historical figures but also their allegorical significance within mathematics and humanistic studies. The intricate details and symbolism make it evident why this artwork has stood the test of time as an important piece in both artistic and educational contexts.

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