Math in art. Perhaps math is not something you'd commonly associate with art, after all, the conventional algebra/geometry/trigonometry that one learns in school may seem nowhere near art, a form of free expression, where no hard-and-fast rules are imposed.

Yet this common perception that a lot of us have is wrong. Quite wrong, in fact. Math is intricately linked with the notion of art, simply because math in itself is a form of art. Math is not just about finding the length of a perpendicular bisector from a given point, it transcends boundaries more than just measurement and solving of equations, it is something that is multi-faceted. And its artistic nature is hard to deny, because in the first place, the balance derived from symmetry and whatnot in artpieces, or even the use of phi in construction and architecture is aesthetically soothing and appealing.

Quoted J. W. H. Sullivan:
The significance of mathematics resides precisely in the fact that it is an art; by informing us of the nature of our own minds it informs us of much that depends on our minds.

And because math is so intricately linked to art in ways more than one, it has a profound influence over the development of art as well---> Please refer to the timeline for more information.

Influence? Impact?
In short, math engenders and even inspires art, examples of which include all the art movements, artists etc that we have put up at this page. There are more examples, of course, which shows the extremely broad scope of this area. Math and art are not entirely separate entities, rather, they are mutually influential on each other, applicable and relevant in many aspects.

There will always be some sort of mathematical influence over art, but this will change and evolve alongside the various changes that we see in the spectrum of art over any particular period of time. Nowadays the use of math seems to be more and more prominent in art, as we discover the wondrous uses of mathematical origami and mind-boggling effects of optical illusions.

Next time when you look at an origami piece or at an Escher lithograph, just spare a few minutes to think about the underlying mathematical concepts. You will be amazed at how math is so cleverly woven into the artpiece (mm.. or is it the other way round?) :)


This website is the product of our Mathematics Independent Learning 2006. Through our website, we hope to allow readers to learn more about mathematics in art.