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Although it seems unlikely, mathematics and art are related in many ways. Most straightforwardly, mathematical tools like the compass and ruler have been used to create beautiful designs by drafters and architects. Simple things like patterns are essential tools for art. Models are a representation of symmetry, which is a mathematical concept. Math for artists is vital. There are some ways that they do this. Here are five ways to consider how they use math as a tool when creating art.

Math for Artists Concepts


Proportion refers to the size of a part of something about the total size of the object. In the case of a painting with a cow and a boy in the same painting, the boy should be a logical size in comparison to a cow. Proportions are mathematical principles that artists use to ensure their drawings or paintings make sense.

There are times where the artist may decide to mix up the proportions to relay a specific message through the drawing or painting. Messages that are relayed by distorted proportions could be sarcasm or imagery. One artist who used math in art is Leonardo Da Vinci. He used the mathematical principle of the golden ratio to create the famous Mona Lisa.


Artists use the mathematical principle of scale to implore perception into their art pieces. Take an example of a landscape painting, and the artist will use the size of objects to enable the viewer to perceive which of the objects is far and which of the objects is near. The size of a tree or animal in the foreground and size of the hill in the background should be able to show the perception of distance clearly.

Math For Artists 2D and 3D expression

Artists and painters who create 3D pieces of art on 2D papers use the expression of projective geometry. They creatively combine scale and geometry to capture perspective in their drawings accurately. Consider drawings that have objects that cast shadows in the drawing. The artist needs to consider the location of a source of light to object and point of view of the image being captured in drawing.

All these considerations require a high level of actual or intuitive mathematical calculations. Architects, engineers, and drafters use an intricate geometrical calculation to develop technical drawings for the development of buildings or the design of mechanical machinery.

They create accurate 2-dimensional drawings and translate them geometrically into 3-dimensional drawings that express the object from all points of views. Artists who do technical drawings require a high level of mathematical understanding.

Computer-Aided Design

Nowadays, architects, engineers, and designers use advanced software like Arch CAD and AutoCAD to design and create proportional technical designs of buildings and machinery. For artists in the design, architecture, and engineering field, they require to be extremely conversant with dimensions and proportions. With accurate dimensioning, computer software only aids with advanced projective geometry.

This renders the images into realistic forms that architects, engineers, and designers can use to present to their customers or provide to their contractors for actualization and creation.


Artists have used the arrangement of simple mathematical shapes like's circles and triangles to create patterns that have been used for decorations for a very long time. The first one dates as far as 5000 years ago in Egypt. The decorative pattern was called the flower of life. It is made up of circles arranged in rows with each circle centered on the circumference of the circle of the neighboring rows. Another example of symmetrical patterns that have been created using the mathematical principle of translation is the graphic art pieces known as tessellations.

They are a complicated form of art first done by an artist known as Maurits Cornelis Escher. He used the principle of spherical mirrors and perspective and symmetry to create patterns with images. An example of one of his tessellations is the 'ascending and descending' art piece of 1960 and the 'day and night' piece of 1938. Escher is the perfect example of an artist who used math in painting.

Art and mathematics strongly correlate. Famous mathematicians like Galileo Galilei, Leonardo Da Vinci, Piero Della Francesca, and Paolo Uccello resorted to painting or sculpting whenever they hit a roadblock in their endeavors. The same way students need help with math problems.

They used art as a way to unwind or express emotions and themes that they could otherwise not express. Some of them expressed events or past occurrences, others like Escher tried to convey mathematical principles, like Escher and the paradox of infinity. This shows that math for artists has been widely used within art and is still being applied today.

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