Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 48

“Euclid’s first common notion is this:

Things which are equal to the same thing

are equal to each other.

That’s a rule of mathematic reasoning.”

Abraham Lincoln

As played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln

When I first heard this I was reminded of E.H. Gombrich’s statement that “All artistic discoveries are discoveries not of likenesses but of equivalencies which enable us to see reality in terms of an image and an image in terms of reality.”

Likeness is defined as a fact, or a quality of being like or resembling.  It’s an imitation, especially if it’s a photo or graphic or drawing or, any representation.

The term equivalency means being equal to as Euclid stated.  It got me to thinking how the ancient Greeks viewed Truth as Beauty and Beauty as Truth.  There was truth in beauty therefore, the beautiful could only be truthful.

Beauty was, to them, all about proportions and ratios and, of course, the Golden Mean.  They saw beauty in the numbers.

The Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős (1913 – 1996) pondered, “Why are numbers beautiful?  It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful.  If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you.  I know numbers are beautiful.  If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.”

So then, is it possible that even the most subjective of artworks can have a mathematical equivalent?  I’m really curious.  Piet Mondrian might be an obvious choice but what about a Jackson Pollock?

What is the reality of an image?  And, where is the image in reality?  “Art is a lie,” said Picasso…



Posted on: 23/02/2013, by :
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