Leonardo da Vinci illustrated Luca Pacioli's 1509 book De Devina
Proportione (The Divine Proportion). Below is one of the illustrations,
Ycocedron Abscisus Vacuus, for that book. (The
drawings are beautifully hand colored like this in the Ambrosiana manuscript,
reprinted by Officina Bodoni, 1956, and also by Silvana Editoriale, 1982.)
There are roughly sixty similar illustrations in the book. For the 500th anniversary
of the book, I am recreating wooden models, similar to those which Leonardo
must have had when making these drawings from "life". Above is my "speculative
reconstruction" in cherry, about 14 inches in diameter. A total of180
pieces of wood were cut and assembled to make it. The plaque is aspen
with a cherry frame and they are connected with a suspension of brass wire.
(No one knows how large Leonardo's models were, but I expect they were smaller,
since Pacioli likely transported them around from place to place when lecturing.)
My reconstruction is in the collection of Wendy Petti, creator of
Below is my speculative reconstruction, also in cherry, of one of the
most beautiful and complex models in the book. This is the Duodecedron
Abscisus Elevatus Vacuus, consisting of 120 equilateral triangles, made
from 360 pieces of wood. It is about 17 inches along its long diameters.
The manuscript version of this form is shown below at left.
At right is the woodcut based on the drawing, which appeared in the printed
version of the book.
I feel there should be a commemorative exhibition celebrating the
500thanniversary of the Pacioli/Leonardo book, coming up in 2009. The
exhibit should include reconstructions of some or all of the wooden models
and illustrations of their influence on other artists. I am working
towards organizing such an exhibition. For more information on Leonardo's
polyhedra, Luca Pacioli's book, and other mathematically sophisticated artwork
of the Renaissance, see
the Art section of my online Encyclopedia of Polyhedra. I have also
my own forms in this style.