Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 2: Math + Art
Vanishing points exist to help bring perspectives into an artist’s work. This vanishing point is useful when the artist is trying to get the observer to see a certain view of the art. An observer needs to look from one point of the painting in order to experience exactly what the artist intends, “if we view art from the wrong viewpoint, it can appear distorted” (Frantz 3-7). Here is where mathematics comes in, measurements are done to make sure that all aspects of the painting are proportional to where the vanishing point is. 

In Flatland, Abbott talks about dimensions, this can be very important in how something is perceived. There is an example in the reading about a penny; if you were to look directly over the penny you would see a circle, but as you shift your perspective on the penny it will start to change shape in your eyes, perhaps it will look like an oval instead of a circle. Using this example, the artist will create a drawing from the perspective he wants his audience to see the penny by drawing it with
men drawn as circles, women as lines
dimensions. Abbot uses this in his book, instead of a drawing he uses literature to express dimensions of the world in a certain view, a bunch of shapes on a plane, but each shape and figure is described with proportions that need to be exact to each respective figure because that is how a person can tell a boy from a girl or a carpenter from a businessman

M.C. Escher uses mathematics in his art to create tessellations. These are “arrangements of closed shapes that completely cover the plain without overlapping and without leaving gaps” (Escher). I found this use of math in art very interesting, the shapes are always touching as if the pen or paintbrush was never lifted from the canvas. In his work, geometry is used in the rotations, translations, and reflections of the one polygon (regular or irregular). In the picture with birds, he uses triangles as the polygon and finds a shape of a bird fitting to fill that space. In other example variations of shapes are used like this example from the Alhambra that inspired Escher to create art that included mathematics.
Tiles in the Alhambra; Drawing, 1936
Regular Division of the Plane with Birds; Wood engraving 1949
Some artists are using math for a reason by using a vanishing point or to help their readers in the case of Abbot to understand dimensions of characters. Escher uses math to make sure that his plane is proportional and even with the shapes he chooses to use in his art. He believes math has opened up more variety to his art. Math, Art, and Science all play a roll in each respective field. I learnd that math has a greater influence on Art than i had expected it to, but as I dug deeper into the material it seems that Math is used to help the art become more real to the observer; this is essential for artists. 

Works Cited: 
Abbott, Edwin. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. 1884. Print.

"Edwin Abbott Abbott." Edwin Abbott Abbott. Web. 10 Apr. 2016   <>.

Franz, Marc. “Lesson 3: Vanishing Point and Looking at Art.” Web. 10 April 2016.

"Perspective: The Role of Perspective: Page 3." Perspective: The Role of Perspective: Page 3. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. <>.

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

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate the use of vanishing point in drawings. I remember when I was visiting museums and looking at paintings before the appearance of the vanishing point, I felt those paintings were awkward to look at. However, as you said, maths open up more options for art, one can also think that the lack of a vanishing point is a perspective on its own, even though it is not a realistic one.