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Good Friday, Passover and Accounting

April 5, 2012

Tomorrow is Good Friday and the first Passover Seder. Leonardo’s The Last Supper depicts Jesus at a Seder.

 

What many do not know is that the style of The Last Supper was inspired by Fra Luca Pacioli, the father of accounting.  Fra Luca gave us double entry bookkeeping and debits and credits in a 1494 book he wrote on “everything” known about mathematics.  Included in his Summa was a section on the mathematics of commercial transactions that made him the father of my profession.  Around the time he was writing his Summa, he met Leonardo and taught him the art of perspective, which was a mathematical technique new to artists during the latter part of the 15th Century.  Leonardo, wishing to employ the techniques learned from Pacioli used it extensively in The Last Supper.

 

In 1509 Pacioli published De Divina Proportione which included the only drawings by Leonardo published in a book.  In that book, Pacioli designed a geometric alphabet which letter “M” is used today by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as its logo.  The word “Peace” accompanying this article uses some of that alphabet.

 

 

And who says accounting is dull?!

 

Happy Easter and Passover!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Christine Iaderosa permalink
    April 6, 2012 4:42 pm

    Thank you, thank you–I loved reading this! As an artist myself, and ‘student’ of Da Vinci, I’ve learned to use perspective and Fibonacci, etc…but I did not know ‘accounting’ was at the core of this particular painting, or could look so aesthetically beautiful… No matter which (copy) of the painting, fresco or bas relief…the perspective is ever-present. Classical letters for a universal wish–PEACE–Happy Easter, and Happy Passover to you too.
    Bellissimo!

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