Art and Mathematics ~ A Painting a Week

Donnerstag, 5. Juli 2007

Art and Mathematics

Maggie Stiefvater is not only a great artist and blog author, she's also a great motivator for all aspiring artist.
Every month she's looking at a (dead) artist, analyzing his/her work and technique, sharing her findings on her blog Greywaren Art - and encouraging her readers to study along. Or read along.

This month she's looking at Maxfield Parrish, an early 20th century illustrator and artist. Two days ago Maggie posted that she had come accross the term Dynamic Symmetry - "Apparently it's a compositional concept that Jay Hambidge rediscovered in 1920, used by the ancient Greeks. Parrish was fascinated by it and used it extensively in his own work. I know it has something to do with ratios but even after crawling the web like a legless lizard looking for water, I am no closer to finding out how exactly one applies it to their artwork."

I love logical/mathematical riddles, and just had to look it up and find out what it's about. This is what I wrote to Maggie:

While the mathematical formula is all about square roots the visual formula is not that complicated.
Take a square – measure the length of its diagonal – prolong the base side of the square to the measured length (maybe use a compass) and draw the resulting rectangular shape. You end up with a rectangular shape with a square in it – or rather a vertical line. The ration of where the line cuts the base line of the new rectangular shape now shows dynamic symmetry.
Or technically speaking: the ration between the base line of the original square to the base line of the resulting rectangular is 1 to the square root of 2.

And then you can do the same with the new rectangular shape: measure the length of its diagonal – prolong the base side of the shape….

Go and read the follow-up on Maggie's blog - I'll just post some overlay pictures here to show how one can find Dynamic Symmetry in Parrish's work.

And because I was playing around with that concept (and my computer) I've put this short clip on YouTube to show how to construct a grid according to the Dynamic Symmetry. Just hope it'll work...

Nächstes Mal gibt's wieder ein Bild - I'll post another of my paintings soon!

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Stacy hat gesagt…

I read your reply on Maggie's blog, but I have to admit your pictures and video really helped! Dynamic Symmetry appeals to my analytical mind. What can I say...once an engineer always an engineer. Thanks for showing how Maxfield Parrish used this concept in his work. I'll have do some of the searches suggested in Maggie's comments and learn more about this.

Maggie Stiefvater hat gesagt…

I always refer people to this post when I talk about dynamic symmetry because I think you have the best description on the web . . .and believe me I've looked. So . . . thanks again for doing this!