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Art and Mathematics

November 17, 2011

Mathemeatics and art have had an extensive relationship throughout history. The “Golden Ratio” by Pythagoras was known by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks and was merged into the designs of monuments including the Great Pyramid and the Colosseum. Many artists have in fact studied mathematics as a means of perfecting their work. The Renaissance painters were among those who turned to maths during art as painters needed to figure out how to portray three-dimensional scenes on a flat canvas and also many were convinced that mathematics was the heart of the creation. Many of these artists became some of the best applied mathematicians after this.

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian scientist, mathematician, engineer, painter, sculpter and architect. He is mainly known for his painting with paintings such as the famous “Mona Lisa”. He incorporated many mathematical concepts into his work such as linear perspective which allowed his paintings to have depth. The “Mona Lisa”, one of his most famous paintings can be seen to have mathematics applied. It is thought that Leonardo made the painting line up with the Golden Rectangles to incorporate mathematics; “A Golden Rectangle whose base extends from her right wrist to her left elbow and reaches the top of her very head can be constructed. This Golden Rectangle can be then further subdivided into smaller Golden Rectangles and can be drawn to produce the Golden Spiral.” The “Mona Lisa” appears in form of a triangle with her arms as the base and head as the tip meaning that the viewer is guided to her face.

The painting itself was described as part of “femme fatale” as the women portrayed in it is an ordinary women with no religious ties meaning women could relate to her and men had someone to fantasise over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_and_art#The_Golden_Ratio

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