Sunday, March 12, 2017

‘The beauty of math at The Met’

The Invention of the Compass (Plate 2)  Second plate from a print series titled New Inventions of Modern Times, engraved by Jan Collaert I, after Jan van der Straet, called Stradanus, and published by Philips Galle. Illustration of man working with a compass at his desk in a large room. On the right side of the room is a bed. There is another desk with other books and geographical tools. To the man’s left a dog lies on the floor. Hanging from the ceiling is a model ship. The window in the background provides a view of boats sailing in the ocean and people walking along the beach.

“A Point is the beginning of all geometrical matter. A Line is a continuation of the same. A Superfices has length and breadth without a given thickness. A Solid has length and breadth with a given thickness, which forms a cube and comprehends the whole.”

Middle Chamber Lecture
Fellow Craft Degree

Through May 8, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits a collection of drawings, prints, and other works that celebrate, as the Middle Chamber Lecture phrases it, “the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth, and thickness are considered. From a point to a line from a line to a superfices, and from a superfices to a solid.”

Picturing Math” is a collection of art created by ten mathematicians and scientists spanning 500 years. From the publicity:

“The visualization of mathematics has taken many forms since the advent of printing. Animated by tensions between the abstract and the figural, the geometric and the gestural, these works from The Met collection show how artists from the 15th century to contemporary times have engaged in the creation and communication of mathematical knowledge through the use and production of images.”

All images courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click to enlarge.

Francesco Curti, “Garden of Mathematical Sciences,”
(engraving, Italy, 17th century).

Johann Sadeler I, “Geometria,” (from The Seven Liberal Arts,
after Maerten de Vos, 1570-1600, engraving and etching).

Georges Reverdy, “The Architect,” (etching, France, 1529-57).

“Plate 24: Geometria XXIIII,” from E-Series Tarocchi Cards,
(engraving, Italy, 15th century).

Albrecht Dürer, Underweysung der messung mit dem zirckel un richt scheyt, printed by Hieronymus Andreae, called Formschneyder, (woodcut in book, 1525).

Peter Flötner, “Perspectival Drawing with Three Cubes,”
(pen and black ink, brush and grey wash, 1528).

Underweissung der Proportzion und stellung der possen, designed by Erhard Schön, printed by Christoff Zell, bound by William Chatto, (woodcuts in book, 1538).

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