logo Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science

The Map Room in Palazzo Vecchio contains the first core of the collection of mathematical instruments that, according to Egnazio Danti (1536-1586), "His Highness ordered fabricated to the very last day of his life". The interest of Cosimo I (1519-1574) in the mathematical sciences was motivated by the conviction that they played a fundamental role in the new political and military organization of the state. This gave rise to a cultural trend that found expression in the institution of the public teaching of mathematics not only at the University of Pisa but also at the Accademia del Disegno, the art institute that since 1563 had promoted, under the aegis of the enlightened prince, the realization of the artistic ideals of Tuscan ‘genius’. With Cosimo as "father of the men of Drawing" and Michelangelo (1475-1564) as spiritual guide, the Accademia aimed to affirm the supremacy of Tuscany in the development of the three major arts (painting, sculpture and architecture), both through the practical exercise of drawing and through theoretical lessons in anatomy, perspective, geometry, mathematics, and cosmography.