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News from Mathnasium of South Jordan

Mathematics in Art

Aug 16, 2019

Did you know that math is not a lone subject? It can be applied to many aspects of our lives, including art. Art and Math may at first seem to be very different things, but people who enjoy math tend to look for -and find- mathematics in art.  They want to see the patterns and angles and lines of perspective. There is a large amount of math involved in art, not to mention basic things like measuring and lines, but the intricacies of art can often be described using math.
 
M.C. Escher
 
Escher is a famous artist who created mathematically challenging artwork.  He used only simple drawing tools and the naked eye, but was able to create stunning mathematical pieces.  He focused on the division of the plane and played with impossible spaces.  He produced polytypes, sometimes in drawings, which cannot be constructed in the real world, but can be described using mathematics.  His drawings caught the eyes and looked possible by perception, but were mathematically impossible. The above image, Relativity, is an example.
 
Sometimes, artists want to create certain linear perspectives.  In order to accomplish this, the artist will pick a point on the piece such that all the lines in the piece will come together at that single point.  In this way, artists use math to create a certain perception for their audience, without any special mathematical tools.  Many artists use math without realizing it.  Escher didn’t use any mathematical tools while creating his pieces.  In particular, his Circle Limit III contains tessellations that were drawn completely freehand and yet are mathematically correct to the millimeter.
 
In art, mathematics is not always visible, unless you are looking for it.  But there is so much symmetry, geometry, and measurement involved in creating beautiful art.  As well, many artists take advantage of mathematical findings.  Angles and perspective can also be described using math.  Perhaps math and art are quite intricately linked.