Examples of how art and math are related...I can't think of any!

I have a Math in Art seminar this semester. For our midterms we have to write a 7 page research paper on a subject that links math with art. Fine great, no problem. Except…
We can’t discuss anything we’ve already covered in class. That means:
The Golden Mean
Linear Perspective
6-point perspective
Fractuals (I think that’s how it’s spelt)
M.C. Escher (and Non-Euclid geometry)
and Tiles

are automatically out. And probably most anything that relates to those things.
Uh, what does that leave? Seriously, I’m having difficulty with this class, and I have to chooes a topic by Monday. I’ve been all over the web, and I just can’t get any ideas. If anybody as any suggestion(s), I’d be much obliged.
Thank you.

Are you limited to “drawing pictures” art? I mean, once you start to consider music, sculpture, photography, etc. the possibilities start to widen, yes?

If you can use sculpture, Alexander Calder leaps to mind. Also, isn’t architecture a rather large intersection of math and art?

You might take a look at the book Goedel, Escher, Bach - it deals specifically with the relationships between art, math, and music.

I think of finite element analysis as an art, although I don’t know how many people would agree with me. (This may be more “Art in Math” than “Math in Art”)

Ack! I forgot to mention architecture, yeah, that’s out of the question.
Hmmm, music is out of bounds. But I think that Sculpture is fair game. I’ll look into that, thank you for the suggestion! I really appreciate it.
In case sculpture is out of bounds, I’m still taking other recommendations.
Strainger, that is an extremely interesting link. I’m going to bookmark it, and ask my professors if that does count as Math in Art, instead of the other way around.

I’d recommend the subject of music in the Baroque Period or Johann Sebastian Bach in particular. That whole era concentrated in “order” in music.

I happen to believe that math in and of itself is an art form, and I know there are at least a few mathematicians who agree with me. You might want to consider that as a possible topic, and possibly a very interesting one.

Is the golden triangle excluded, too?

I’m not sure if this counts(I always tried to weasle my way around assignments by doing something as tangentally as possible) Or if it would have been covered in Linear Perspecive. but you could consider using Cubism from a perspective of its mathematical aspect as a rejection of Linear perspective and Cubism’s belief that the simplest three dimentional projection onto a two dimensional format is not the best way to represent an object.

The math professor co-teaching the class brought that up at the very beginning. The problem is, that is very vague. Is all of math an art-form? If I were to focus on that, it would take a lot more than 7 pages.
Cranky, the Golden Triangle is part of the Gold Mean (Golden Rectangle and Fibocchi(sic) sequence is in there too).

Wow, I did a google search on Alexander Calder and that looks extremely promising.

It’s too bad that Escher and tiles are off-limits, since that takes out the entire categories of tessellations, symmetry, and the very interesting subject of Islamic art. But how strict is the prohibition against perspective? Because you can actually approach it from its relationship to the concepts of zero and infinity. Otherwise, color theory is another rich area where lots of mathematics can be devoted to it - start by playing some games, then move on to the canonical texts by Josef Albers and Johannes Itten.

Art, of course, is about our sense of visual perception, so it’s good to learn it. One of the most respected nature photographers around also has his recommendations. And op art is all about tweaking that sense - speaking of which, the artist Susie Rosmarin also uses mathematical relationships to determine the colors she puts on canvas (but exactly how, I don’t know).

Is weaving an art? If we’re allowed to move away from math just a bit, computer historians will tell you that the Jacquard loom played an important role in the development of the “stored program.” Or, there’s also how art relates to physics.

Math in art? Dear me I have been taking too many digital art classes.

A lot of art is based on algorithms, which can be seen as a mathematical concept. Yoko Ono’s instruction painting are an oft cited example. Or you could look at the role of random chance operations in John Cage’s music, or Borrough’s cut-up movies. Digital art is too big of a concept to narrow down, but it all relies on math to some degree. Right now I am in a class where we are looking at the role of cybernetic systems in art. It is everywhere!

Check out Spirograph and polar coordinates.



Creating a new mathematical theory is a lot like creating a work of art (or I’ve heard–I’m not yet a research mathematician). You could interview a math professor about that sort of thing.

I like the algorithmic art, though.

I’m not sure how it would link up with art precisely, but you might check out Fibonacci Series, as expressed in rectangles and spirals. I’ve always thought they were very cool. If you want some specific suggestions, here’s a great link on Fibonacci series in art and architecture:

la linque

This is assuming that the Golden Section and the Golden Mean are two different things, yes? If not, forget it.

Ben’s link made me think of stained glass windows - particularly the symmetrical rose windows found in many cathedrals. Here’s a wonderful one.
Notre Dame Rose Window

Maybe this was mentioned: Piet Hein, Danish philospher, mathematician, etc. He created that Soma Cube. I also believe furniture was developed on some math basis, but don’t recall the sites.

Two points which link math and art:

  1. Art can usually be broken down into a series of shapes. Geometry is very important to art.

  2. During the Renasaince, some guy (hanging head in shame because of bad memory), decided to find a more scientific way to create art. What he invented was an art form called pointalism. Pointalism is what makes your computer monitor show you text and pictures.

How is this linked to math? Simple. The computer can only draw in rows and collums. Thousands of tiny little dots. There is a method of creating a formula for any picture. With enough math, we could make a computer draw anything.

I suppose paint by numbers is out.
I would suggest looking to the East, investigating Tibetan Thangkas, Mandalas, Labyrinths, etc.
Here’s a few links to start: