P is for Pacioli

Portrait of Pacioli attributed to Jacopo de’Barbari at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.

Luca Pacioli wrote the book on accounting. He also wrote the book on algebra, geometry, mathematics, and arithmetic. It’s a musty old book by now, fragrant with the smell of parchment, dust, museum purifiers, and centuries passing. But Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita contains the world.

Pacioli’s Summa de Arithmetica, photo from the Smithsonian.

Da Vinci’s Buddy, Della Francesca’s “Admirer”

Pacioli was born in Tuscany, studied in Venice, taught in Rome, Croatia, Naples, and eventually settled in Milan under the patronage of Ludovico Sforza. Sforza supported another famous scholar: Leonardo.

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