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. 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed how you incorporated a modern day example of the golden ratio with the use of the Apple logo. I see that logo every day, but I never really made the connection until I read your blog. It really shows how these techniques that were developed a long time ago are still influencing many of the products that we use today.