Numbers in Art

Numbers in Art
Originating in Mesopotamia 5-6,000 years ago, arithmetic has played a major role in the multidimensional field of art. I will share my findings.

Around 300 BCE Euclid's Elements were mentioned in relation to geometry and mathematics in classical Greek. The 'golden ratio' or 'divine proportion' is equivalent to 1.618 to 1, appearing in nature, geometry, art, and architecture.
It was used by Greek and Italian Renaissance artists to represent classical beauty.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" illustrates the 'golden ratio' in many facets, accurately explained on the Museum of Science, Boston, MA website.

During the early 20th century, an advancement in mathematical logic was an element of modern art by Frenchman Metzinger and Spaniard Juan Gris, who embraced Cubism (multiple views of 3-D objects appearing as 4-D) but were dedicated to order and classical beauty.

The Greek philosopher Pythagoras (born 570 BCE) believed in the 'power of 3' and its nearly perfect number, as well as being the number of the divine.

In the Christian faith, the Holy Trinity consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One of the earliest paintings is "The Trinity" (1425) by Russian artist Saint Andrei Rublev.

We can easily find the "power of 3" in our modern world. A family has historically been identified as consisting of a male, female, and child. Today, it may consist of other gender identities.

If you are a writer and/or reader, we all agree a story consists of a beginning, middle, and an end.

Our health/wellbeing is comprised of the harmony of our body, mind, and spirit.
Most societies believe the human existence begins at birth, continues with life, and culminates with death.

A compass is composed of four (4) points: north south, east, and west. That explains our use of the phrase "four corners of the world."

The number seven (7) holds much significance. In the Old Testament, the world was created in six (6) days and God rested on the seventh (7). Thus, our seven-day week.

Consider the seven (7) elements of art: line, shape, form, space, value, color, and texture. This is according to the Online Art Lessons website.

In Pre-Columbian Mexico, the Aztec, Maya, and Inca civilizations used geometry as a basis to determine facial features in producing masks and sculptures. A broad forehead (sloped slightly backwards), broad triangular nose, oval eyes, and half-open mouth would epitomize the idealized human head.

American artist Charles Demuth painted "I Saw the Figure 5 Painted in Gold" (1928).

American visual artist Man Ray was so inspired by the hand-made 3-D models from Institut Henri Poincare (IHP) in Paris that he photographed them.

The exhibit "Man Ray: Human Equations" was organized by The Israel Museum, Jerusalem and the Philips Collection, Washington, DC in 2016. It was the first time the original objects and photographs were displayed side-by-side.

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This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.