Week 2: Can math be beautiful? By: Claudia Zapien

 When you think about math and art do you usually think of them in the same context? The truth is that when I used to think about art I would imagine something beautiful and creative and when I think about math I think about numbers, formulas, and most of all headaches. The truth is that math has a lot to do with art and art with math. The branch in math that can most easily be related with art would be geometry. Geometry is the branch of mathematics that analyses the shape, size, and position of a figure.  When it comes to art there really is not a guideline on how to draw, but it just so happens that most pieces of art that are pleasing to the eyes have some sort of mathematical basis. After the lecture on art and math I began to see things as a combination of art and math instead of keeping the two subjects separate.

I have always thought of the Louvre Pyramids to be a beautiful building. Of course in the back of my mind I always knew that the construction of that beautiful piece of art was possible due to the advances in math, science, and architecture, but I never saw the structure its self to be mathematical work of art. Now that I think about it, I find it to be pretty ridiculous that I never saw the connection between math and art because the building itself is a huge pyramid and the walls of the pyramid are adjacent diamonds. The entire structure is nothing more but a combination of shapes, angle and lines that come together in such a beautiful way that the building itself is a work of art. We are so conditioned to label everything, and we want everything to fit into a category that we stop looking at the whole picture and realize that everything is unique a combination of different branches coming together.  

 Other than the exterior of the building being inspired purely from math, I find it fascinating that one of the reasons why the entrance of the museum was in the form of a pyramid was mathematical.  A pyramid shape would offer maximum surface area of the building while minimizing the volume needed to build the structure. It was important that the building not occupy a lot of volume because if it did it would take away from the palace, also the maximum surface area was important because the building was supposed to have warmth to it that would be achieved by natural light coming into the building. Not only is math used in a very simple way to choose the best design for the entrance, but it is said that pyramids are very mathematical. When we analyze the structure of a pyramid we encounter the concept knows as Golden ratio and it is calculated by diving one of the lengths of the base of the pyramid by the height of the pyramid. The result is an astonishing ratio of about 1.6 and this number is found all throughout nature and art.  It seems that things that are aesthetically beautiful and pleasing to the eye fall under this category.       

I think that another factor that makes the building beautiful is that fact that it brings the old and the new together. The concept of pyramids as buildings is an old tradition used by various groups such as the Egyptians and the Mayan as important cultural buildings. Because the previous groups that used pyramids used them to symbolize a sacred location, this building also makes us feel that what the building its self and whatever it contains is something that should be appreciated.

-Claudia Zapien

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.