Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 2: Math and Art

In review of the history of mathematics and art inspired by Professor Vesna’s lecture video, I found that most mathematicians were also artists, architects or philosophers in the early history, as contrasted by our contemporary society where most scholars have only one focused field of study. As time proceeds, we separate different subjects into more categories, categorizing everyone with his or her focus of study, and thus diminish the possibility of multi-area mastery of science, math, and art. However, the existence of people who incorporates both math and art in their lives proves the everlasting relation between the two fields. For instance, my math 33B professor also is an excellent bass player.

Another take on the interrelation of math and art that broadened my perspective was the introduction of M.C. Escher. According to "The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher", M.C. Escher’s popularity was founded by mostly mathematicians “who recognized in his work an extraordinary visualization of mathematical principles. This was the more remarkable in that Escher had no formal mathematics training beyond secondary school.” It fascinates me that Escher had little knowledge of math and yet his major artworks interpret mathematical concepts. His work incorporated math and art harmoniously with elements of surprise due to the distortion of shape and space.

The dependence of art on math becomes more apparent when I realize that one of the most essential concepts of art even incorporates math.

The vanishing point concept is widely used when creating artworks pertaining to real life perception of objects.

Interactive software art further illustrates the juxtaposition of math, art and science. 

The curves are created with mathematical formulas, and software technology allows the interaction of user and the software. This beautiful artwork is fed with the integration of art, math and science and would not have been possible without it. I believe that math and art will be more related in different aspects in the future and I can’t wait to see what their marriage will bring us.


de Panicale, Masolino. St. Peter Healing a Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha. 1425. Painting. Science & Art of Perspective. Web. 10 Apr 2016.

PenneysBass. n.d. Photograph. University of California, Los Angeles. Web. 10 Apr 2016.

Selikoff, Nathan. "Beautiful Chaos, an experimental app designed for the Leap Motion Controller.Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 12 Aug 2013. Web. 10 Apr 2016.

Smith, B. Sidney. "The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher." Platonic Realms Minitexts. Platonic Realms, 13 Mar 2014. Web. 10 Apr 2016. <>

Vesna, Victoria. "Mathematics." Lecture. CoLE DESMA 9. Web. <>

1 comment:

  1. Your mention of your Math 33B professor is interesting - I thought that the concepts brought up in lecture (e.g. vanishing points, the golden ratio...) were an interesting way of explaining how math and art are interrelated, but it's also interesting to point out that people at the top of the field of math also have that artistic side to them.