Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli).
Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance Florence. At this time art led mathematics, and artists were more likely to be learning or teaching mathematics than were professors of natural philosophy in the universities.
Vasari dedicated the Lives of Seventy Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, originally published in 1550, to Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Vasari recounted the stories of Michelangelo, Raphael, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Batista Alberti, Massacio, Leonardo da Vinci, and many others who created the artistic heritage of Galileo’s world.