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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Everyday Math: Mathematics in Art

Everyday Math: The Art of Mathematics

Students and teachers alike often place art and mathematics on opposite sides of the academic spectrum. They consider there to be little overlap between the logic that blooms in a math class and the creativity that flourishes is an art room. Rather than running beside each other as parallel lines, mathematics and art intertwine in a way that creates some of the world's greatest masterpieces. The mathematical techniques used by renowned artists proof that math is everywhere, seeping into every aspect of academia and entertainment. 

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is explained algebraically as .
This ratio, also known as the Divine Proportion, is used by artists on a geometric scale. For an example, the Golden Rectangle is a specific rectangle that follows the Golden Ratio in its side lengths. The Golden Ratio also manifests itself in nature and the human body, making it useful for artists.

Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with some of the world's most famous paintings, and also is one of the prominent artists to utilize the Golden Ratio in his work. The most acclaimed painting showing clear examples of the Golden Ratio is Da Vinci's "The Last Supper". From the architecture of the background to the minuscule details on the shield, implications of the Golden Ratio are evident throughout. Other, more controversial examples of the Golden Ratio is Da Vinci's work can be found in the "Mona Lisa" and "The Annunciation". Da Vinci's fascination with ratios can be seen in "The Vitruvian Man". Here, Da Vinci measured the human body using specific ratios drawing ideal proportions according to the work of Vitruvian.


Working in the shadow of Da Vinci, Raphael also used the Golden Ratio to create visual beauty and harmony in his art. In his piece, "The School of Athens", a perfect Golden Rectangle can be seen painted in the forefront. Many scholars say that this was Raphael's way of noting his recognition of the Golden Ratio, and prompting others to seek them in his work. Like Da Vinci, the placement of subjects as well as the architecture in the background is painted with the Golden ratio in mind.

Geometric Patterns

Many artists create pieces that involve only simple shapes, yet are situated such that a beautiful design is created. Using only circles, triangles, and squares, many artists have created masterpieces that are still viewed today.

Flower of Life

The Flower of Life can be traced back 5,000 years to Egypt. It is made by overlapping circles at specific points. By starting the next row of circles on the circumference of the row before, a certain pattern in created that stays constant throughout. In the religion of Islam, animals and people are not typically depicted on Mosques. Because of this, geometric shapes like the Flower of Life are painted on Mosques around the world. It also serves as a symbol of the divine order of the Universe. 

Modern Tessellations

Originally, tessellations were large images created by placing smaller tiles in a certain pattern. However, a modern interpretation of a tessellation is a design that incorporates non-square tiles and completely fills a space without gaps or overlaps. Tessellations can be found in nature, but are commonly created in art. M.C Escher is known as the father of modern tessellations and is infamous for his passion for creating complex tiled designs.

1 comment:

  1. Many other math inspirations e.g