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Luca Pacioli
De Ludo Scachorum

Logical strategies at the time of Leonardo da Vinci


ms. 7955
Archivio di Stato Coronini Cronberg, Gorizia (Italy)

Hand-painted manuscript, XV century, 48 folios, 16 x 11.5 cm, limited edition of 999 copies, box, Italian commentary.

Official distributor for Institutions on behalf of
Aboca Edizioni, Sansepolcro (Italy)
€1,850 (Reg. Price)
Substantial discount is available for Cultural Institutions.
Luca Pacioli

Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli (sometimes Paciolo) (1446/7–1517) was an Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar, collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci, and seminal contributor to the field now known as accounting. He was also called Luca di Borgo after his birthplace, Borgo Santo Sepolcro, Tuscany. His first teacher was no less a person than the painter Piero della Francesca, who, typically for Italian Humanism, masterfully connected mathematics, science and art. In 1470 Pacioli stayed in Rome at the house of the famous architect, philosopher and mathematician Leon Battista Alberti. This move to Rome was advised by his teacher Piero, who had worked together with Alberti in the church of Sail Francesco in Rimini during the fifties. In 1473 Pacioli became a Franciscan Minor under the name Frater Lucas de Borgo San Sepulcro.

De Ludo Scachorum, found after 500 years
De Ludo Scachorum, fine art facsimile edition

Pacioli wrote an unpublished treatise on chess, De Ludo Scachorum (On the Game of Chess). Written in vernacular around 1500, and impossible to find for five centuries, the surviving manuscript was recently uncovered in 2006, in the 22,000-volume library of Count Guglielmo Coronini (State Archive of Gorizia). Based on Leonardo da Vinci's long association with the author and his having illustrated De divina proportione, some scholars speculate that Leonardo either drew the chess problems that appear in the manuscript or at least designed the chess pieces used in the problems.

As Pacioli himself states, it is a "iocondo et alegro tractato" (joyful treatise) useful as a "schifanoia" (to steer clear of boredom); today it is also an example of mathematical and logical strategies of that time. The manuscript has aroused great interest because it contains "partiti" (games of chess) made in the medieval manner and others in accordance with the new "a la rabiosa" technique, introduced at the end of the sixteenth century.

Fine Art Facsimile Edition
De Ludo Scachorum, fine art facsimile edition

Aboca Edizioni is proud to introduce De Ludo Scachorum in its fine art facsimile edition, inserted in a special case made from the wood of a centuries-old oak tree. The case has been hand-crafted and each individual piece has been immerged in a mixture of incense, myrrh, mastic gum, and organic alcohol in order to preserve it and keep it unchanged over time. The spine of the case is printed with 15th century characters. The facsimile has been produced with paper that has been folded and cut by hand; the cuts have been treated with coloured methylcellulose; the stitching, done by hand using satin stitch on double cords, is done in hemp with cotton thread. The cover is in hand-dyed goatskin and the dry engravings are imprinted with magnesium plates. The accompanying commentary volume (280 pages, 24 x 28.5 cm, 299 images, italian) critically analyzes the original work and credits authorship to the great Renaissance mathematician, a student of Piero della Francesca and close friend of Leonardo.