Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 1: Math + Art

After reading the articles provided this week and external resources, I was intrigued by the crossover between geometry, perception and art. I learned that purposeful distortion is a necessity when trying to depict reality to the consumer of the art. Acording to Edwin Abbott “as soon as you look at [a shape] with your eye on the edge of the table, you will find that it ceases to appear to you as a figure, and that it becomes in appearance a straight line.” This new perspective of distortion was realized to me after looking into images such as the one below.

Example of the Use of Distortion

The Golden Ratio is one like no other. I was very surprised by how this ratio is fundamental to some of the most significant art pieces dating back to the Pantheon and the Mona Lisa and even to present day Apple design.

Golden Ratio in Apple Logo Design

The Mona Lisa was a masterful art piece that dated back to the 1500’s yet the fundamental ratio utilized to create it is still present in today’s art. Although viewers may not be able to recognize it at first sight, the ratio is still being implemented. As seen, the apple design uses the golden ratio, but manipulates it and utilizes multiple layers. 

Another example of when math an art crossover are the artworks from the Renaissance era. During this time, the use of mathematics was very apparent. One technique that demonstrated this was foreshortening. By manipulating the ratios of the human body, the artist can give the impression that an object is “receding towards the vanishing point.” This is apparent in the artwork Diana and Actaeon.

Diana and Actaeon Use of Foreshortening (focus on far left character)

In conclusion, mathematics is essential to art even though the viewer may not witness it at first sight. Although some of the mathematics are very simple such as geometry and symmetry, these characteristics can be manipulated to create complex art pieces such as the Pantheon and Mona Lisa.


Abbot, Edwin A. "Flatland The Film." Flatland A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884): 1-5. Web. 26 June 2016

"Cross-curricular Ideas: Mathematics and Renaissance Art." Cross-curricular Ideas: Mathematics. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016. 

"CS 48N - The Science of Art." CS 48N - The Science of Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016. 

Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion." Leonardo 17.3 (1984): 205-10. Web. 26 June 2016.

Stango, Nicholas. "Does the Apple Logo Really Adhere To the Golden Ratio?" Gizmodo. N.p. 05 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2016. 

Week 1: Two Cultures

The main idea that C.P. Snow stresses in his articles is the strong segregation between the two main cultures, literary and scientific individuals. Neither culture has greater value than the other and although there are currently two notable cultures, today’s society is in the works of establishing a third one. As the years go by, crossovers between the two cultures are becoming more and more common, which essentially is the “bridge” to creating a new culture.

Illustration of two intellectual cultures

C.P. Snow states that “the curricula of schools and universities as the source of the problem [for separation between the two cultures].” This statement is very much apparent in the UCLA campus, as we are divided into the North and South campus. These campuses are divided based on the majors and classes that you take.  

Map of UCLA divided by North and South Campus

This added perspectives changes the way I view things, especially in the movie Finding Dory. In a specific scene of the movie, there is an octopus that uses its camouflage to blend in with its surrounding. On first sight, I was impressed with the artwork and would give credit to the artist who created the piece. However, now after reading C.P. Snow’s work, I have a greater appreciation for the technology that was utilized to develop the octopus character. I read more into the development of the octopus and found that it was actually impossible to create him due to the lack of technology. With projects like the octopus that require technological advancement to create art, the advancement towards the third culture will gradually build.

How Pixar Created It's Most Complex Character

Bohm, D. "On Creativity." JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016. 

"Hank The Octopus In 'Finding Dory' Is So Complex, One Scene Took Two Years to Animate." Digg. N.p. n.d. Web 26 June 2016.

Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge UP, 1959. Print.

Vesna, Victoria. "Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between." Leonardo. 34 (2001): 121-125. Web. 26 June 2016.  <> 

Wilson, Stephen D. “Myths and Confusions in Thinking about Art/Science/Technology.” College Art Association Meetings. New York, New York, 2000. Print.