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Mathematics and arts

Mathematics and art are related in a variety of ways. Mathematics has itself been described as an art motivated by beauty. Mathematics can be discerned in arts such as music, dance, painting, architecture, sculpture, and textiles. This article focuses, however, on mathematics in the visual arts.

Mathematics and art have a long historical relationship. Artists have used mathematics since the 5th century BC when the Greek sculptor Polykleitos wrote his Canon, prescribing proportions based on the ratio 1:√2 for the ideal male nude. Persistent popular claims have been made for the use of the golden ratio in ancient art and architecture, without reliable evidence. In the Italian Renaissance, Luca Pacioli wrote the influential treatise De Divina Proportione (1509), illustrated with woodcuts by Leonardo da Vinci, on the use of the golden ratio in art. Another Italian painter, Piero della Francesca, developed Euclid's ideas on perspective in treatises such as De Prospectiva Pingendi, and in his paintings. The engraver Albrecht Dürer made many references to mathematics in his work Melencolia I. In modern times, the graphic artist M. C. Escher made intensive use of tessellation and hyperbolic geometry, with the help of the mathematician H. S. M. Coxeter, while the De Stijl movement led by Theo van Doesberg and Piet Mondrian explicitly embraced geometrical forms. Mathematics has inspired textile arts such as quilting, knitting, cross-stitch, crochet, embroidery, weaving, Turkish and other carpet-making, as well as kilim. In Islamic art, symmetries are evident in forms as varied as Persian girih and Moroccan zellige tilework, Mughal jaali pierced stone screens, and widespread muqarnas vaulting.



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