The Polyhedrists: Art and Geometry in the Long Sixteenth Century
This academic study into the sixteenth-century fascination with polyhedrons is historically instructive but at the same time surprisingly contemporary. The ‘neoclassical’ design rejects many of the conventions of academic textbooks and provides an outstanding immersion into the extensive pictorial material. The fairly large size for a softcover allows the pictures – always presented one to a page, often full bleed – to be studied in detail. This is demonstrated in exemplary fashion on the front and back covers, which feature close-ups from a painting. The chapter headings are presented across a double page in capital letters that appear almost to have been etched in stone, disrupting the reader’s flow. The book’s open binding means that the volume lies very well; and to provide the illustrations as much space as possible, the captions are moved to an adjacent page of text where necessary. One oversized drawing which is particularly rich in detail has been folded and glued to a page in such a way that it can be opened out for inspection. The theme of geometry is carried across to the book’s design, with many pages playfully (and sometimes ironically) engaging with white space, proportions and harmony. Amidst all this, the book remains very accessible and pleasant to read.