Talk:Mathematics and art

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Former good article nominee Mathematics and art was a Mathematics good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
September 7, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed


This article appears to be about the relationship between maths and art, but what is "Shuntest"? Jonathan Oldenbuck (talk) 16:11, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I suggest that the contents of the shorter article Mathematics and art should be merged into this article, and then the whole article moved to Mathematics and art, as that title is a more likely search term, and is consistent with the titles of other articles such as Mathematics and architecture, Mathematics and fibre arts, Mathematics and music. Gandalf61 (talk) 15:29, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

I have completed the merge. I will move the page back to Mathematics and art in a day or two if there are no objections. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:36, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move Parsecboy (talk) 12:34, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Following the merger of contents from Mathematics and art (see above), I have requested admin assistance to move this page back to Mathematics and art and replace it with a redirect. Gandalf61 (talk) 14:19, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Mathematics and art/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Protonk's review[edit]

Maybe an explanation within the article is in order?


Major issues[edit]

  • The lede is far too short. For an article this long, the lede can be as long as 4 paragraphs--basically long enough to give an executive summary for all of the content below.
  • The Golden Ratio section includes a link to the golden ratio article, but I think because the layout of this article depends so heavily on the reader understanding and internalizing what the golden ratio is and how that relates to physical shapes, the first portion should briefly explain what is going on.
  • The word 'art' encompasses a great deal more than is listed here. This article seems to be constrained (largely) to western visual art, principally paintings. Some architecture is detailed, but no music and very little non-western 'art'. Obviously an article like this shouldn't seek to be exhaustive, but there has to be more out there. Should we consider Flatland a work of art steeped in mathematics? The Tyger gets dragooned into analogy by physicists enough that we might want to consider that as well. Where are the cubists, or going in the complete opposite direction, where is the Four color theorem? Moebius? The list goes on.
  • Normally articles are slanted toward recent events, but I feel that this article avoids more recent art that is obviously mathematical. Computer art and Algorithmic art jump immediately to mind.


Minor issues[edit]

  • Some links are dead. They can be replaced w/ archived links.
  • ISBNs, {{ISSN}}'s, and {{Doi}}'s should be used wherever possible to assist readers and editors in finding and verifying source material.
  • Broad historical works on mathematics and art or mathematics in art might be helpful in improving this article, including The invention of infinity : mathematics and art in the Renaissance, Mathematics, art, technology, and cinema, or Einstein, Picasso: space, time, and the beauty that causes havoc. This volume has some cool articles.
  • "Aside from interesting mathematical properties, geometric shapes derived from the golden ratio, such as the golden rectangle, the golden triangle, and Kepler’s triangle, were believed to be aesthetically pleasing." In many cases, those shapes were treated as aesthetically pleasing because they were derived from pure geometric forms.
  • "On the other hand, mathematicians have sought to interpret and analyze..." "On the other hand" isn't really the phrase you want here.
  • "The prevalence of this special number in art and architecture even before its formal discovery by Pythagoras is perhaps evidence of an instinctive and primal human cognitive preference for the golden ratio." This is one interpretation, and the article should probably specify, "XYZ historian suggests", or something along those lines.
  • "Working out the math, the perpendicular bisector of the side of the pyramid comes out to 612 feet." This is an odd phrase. What is a perpendicular bisector?
  • "If we divide the slant height of the pyramid by half its base length, we get a ratio of 1.619, less than 1% from the golden ratio." Try to avoid using phrases like "if we...". What is the slant height? Why does dividing the slant height by half the base height give us the golden ratio? Does this have anything to do with the perpendicular bisector? Questions like this might be avoided if the section clearly presented the assertion prior to jumping into the data.
  • "Another triangle that is close is one whose perimeter is 2π the height such that the base to hypotenuse ratio is 1:4/π" This sentence should be more clear. Do we mean that the perimeter of a circle inscribing that triangle is 2π? Or that the sum of the lengths of the sides of the triangle is 2π?
  • "It is contended that Phidias, the main Greek sculptor in charge of decorating the Parthenon..." By whom?
  • "As with the Pyramids however, more recent historians challenge the purposeful inclusion of the golden ratio in Greek temples..." who?
  • "Some scholars contend the influence of the mathematician..." which scholars?
  • I won't continue listing all the weasel words in the article because that will get tedious, but most if not all should be fixed
  • "In light of these factors, Renaissance artists became some of the best applied mathematicians of their times." This statement certainly requires a citation. There are other trades which produced excellent applied mathematicians during the Renaissance, namely engineering and finance.
  • For the Renaissance section intro, the Hockney–Falco thesis provides an odd and controversial counterclaim to what is presented in this article. Might be worth reading.
  • The Flagellation of Christ is italicized in the text, even though the wikilink doesn't go to the work. I'm not sure how to resolve this. The work should be italicized (I think), but the link shouldn't mislead the reader into thinking that they will click through to an article on the painting.
  • "In De Prospectiva Pingendi, Peiro painstakingly transforms art and his empirical observations..." this paragraph feels like it has been lifted out of a book somewhere. I think it ought to be rewritten a tad.
  • Platonic solids in art is just a bulleted list, and the Platonic solid article provides much more content related to art.
  • The Industrial and modern times section kind of peters out over time. The sections get smaller and smaller as we move forward in time, the end even changes from being oriented around biography to being oriented around syle. I would suggest that some less prominent artists get merged into thematic sections (i.e. Helaman Ferguson, Robinson and Palazuelo) or their sections be expanded. I know there is no shortage of published work on Dali in order to expand his section.


  • I'm going to place this article on hold. There are many challenges between this articles current state and GA status, but I imagine they can be overcome in a period of a few weeks. Please feel free to contest any points I have made here. All I ask is that you thread replies below the appropriate comment above. Thanks! Protonk (talk) 23:33, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Comments (from a non-editor of the article)[edit]

Personally I think this has a way to go before reaching GA standards of comprehensiveness & accuracy. Restricting "art" to Western visual art is ok - "art" in WP does not normally include literature - but should be mentioned in the lead. More references to architecture are also needed. The use of ratios in Ancient Egyptian figures, similar to the Ancient Greeks, should be covered, and generally the mentions of the treatment of distance/perspective in pre-Renaissance painting are far too simplistic when not downright wrong. The references seem a collection of bitty articles & web-pages. Painting and experience in fifteenth century Italy : a primer in the social history of pictorial style. by Baxendale, Martin is essential reading here, also Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. London: Phaidon 1960 and other stuff by Ernst Gombrich. A lot of the short modern sections cover things or people too obscure to belong here (not Dali or Escher, but others). I notice the main contributor has not edited since April. Johnbod (talk) 00:17, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

  • If the restriction to visual art is mentioned in the lede, then that portion of my critique evaporates. However, if we restrict it to western visual art then we would have to change the title, IMO. Protonk (talk) 00:30, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Minor remark[edit]

It may be helpful to note which points are GA issues, and which are general suggestions for improvements. For instance WP:Alternative text for images is not part of the GA criteria and never has been. Geometry guy 21:38, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

  • You can do that if you like. I don't actually keep up w/ WIAGA. Protonk (talk) 21:40, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    WP:WIAGA has been pretty stable for around two years, so I think it is reasonable for reviewers to be aware of what it says. You can refer to this version from October 2007 if you prefer. Geometry guy 21:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Ok. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but I don't actually think I've read it more than twice. Perhaps I should have said that originally. I remember relying heavily on it to do a number of reviews (including that template-thing) but I decided that the end result was that an article lacking in obvious quick-fail criteria ended up revolving around a subjective interpretation of criteria 2,3 and 4. So I don't really reference it in reviews. So yes, the image criteria doesn't mention suitable ALT text, but it also doesn't say that a reviewer should check if the image copyright tags are accurate, something I imagine should be elementary w/ any review of an article. So if you like, you may annotate the portions of this review that you feel are or aren't relevant to the GA criteria, but I don't think I could do so accurately. Protonk (talk) 22:01, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Don't worry, it isn't a problem as far as I am concerned, and while any editor can contribute to this review, no editor can interfere with your role as reviewer: the list/do not list is your call. If I have time I might add some annotations, but they will carry only my opinion. Ironically, despite my claim that the criteria are stable, I do hope to make some slight changes in the near future to clarify the meaning of the criteria we have for reasons related to those you mention: it should be clear what each criterion is "for". I hope this will make them easier to remember. Thanks for all your hard work in any case: I hope you noticed that this review has been appreciated as an exemplar of good practice. Geometry guy 22:13, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Thanks. Hopefully I didn't come off too prickly. I didn't know quite how to respond to someone who spends a great deal of time crafting GA criteria/guidelines that I kind of look past them (in the letter at least). Looks like this article has attracted some attention from a new editor, hopefully it will bring someone else into the fold! Protonk (talk) 22:34, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Actually that isn't what I do, which is another reason that the criteria haven't changed much in the last two years. I hope the new contributor will help the article meet the GA criteria. Geometry guy 22:56, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm failing this article as the issues brought up during the GA review have not been resolved in a reasonable amount of time. Thanks for the work that did go into the article, it is much better than it was even 6 months ago. Protonk (talk) 06:01, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your time and effort in this review. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:14, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Why Anatoly Fomenko is not on the list?[edit] Many of his artistic works are heavely influenced by mathematics and to be more specific by topology. Here are some of his drawings: (explore the red links there)

I guess he is the one who definitely needs to be listed here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Modern/computer art?[edit]

Hi, please see: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#Mathematical_art_.26_computer_generated_imagery. Ideas will be appreciated. History2007 (talk) 03:23, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Possible new section: Geometric Magic Squares[edit]

The following new text has been proposed. The key defect is the lack of any evidence of notability - citations are needed to show that this is sufficiently widely considered 'art' in reliable sources. Other defects like cross-referencing with 'above' and point-of-view advocacy / unencyclopedic language ("an extraordinary world of intricate patterns") are fixable, if and when. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:04, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

A 4 x 4 geometrical magic square

"A discovery of Lee Sallows in 2001 generalized the concept of the magic square by replacing numbers with geometrical shapes. The result is called a Geometric magic square. Traditional magic squares (such as that to be found in Albrecht Durer's engraving Melencolia I above) were then revealed as one dimensional geometrical magic squares. An exploration of 2D types has revealed an extraordinary world of intricate patterns formed of interwoven symmetries that are often fascinating to look at and to analyze."