Mathematics of Art
Hours: by appointment and whenever my door is open
Web Page: http://edisk.fandm.edu/annalisa.crannell
Materials (What You’ll Need)
copy of Flatland, by
E. A. Abbott.
• Rules for Writers,
by Diana Hacker
Mathematical Perspective and Fractal Geometry in Art
• Access to a
word-processor and to an e-mail account.
• A brain.
from the art store (see the attached list)
1-page papers (20%) almost
every Wednesday, 4:45 p.m.
4-page paper (10%) early
4-page paper (20%) November 16
paper (20%) December 16
homeworks (20%) weekly
project (10%) December 16
You will be
learning a lot from your classmates and they will be learning a
lot from you, so I expect that you come prepared, with proper
materials, and that you participate fully. Please be
advised that Math Department and F&M policy state that
penalties (including grade reduction and/or dismissal from the
course) may be assessed for excessive, unexcused absences.
Weekly Writing Assignments
With a few
exceptions, you will have a 1-page
paper due every Wednesday at 4:45 p.m., and I will count
the best eight of these papers toward your final grade. There
are 14 weeks in the class, and you will have two 5-page papers
due (see below); there will be one Wednesday with no paper
because of Thanksgiving break. This means you may choose
to skip writing a paper twice during the semester without any
serious danger to your grade. I will usually announce the
topic of these papers one week in advance, so that you may begin
writing during the week and revise your paper over the course of
the following weekend.
write these papers in a nice 12-point font; the margins should
be no narrower than 0.75 inches; the lines should be 1.5 spaced,
and there should be a title, the due-date, and your name at the
top of the page. You may NOT hand in more than one page,
despite various temptations to do so. I want you to think
hard about making your writing as concise and forceful as
Weekly Math /Art Assignments
you will have assignments that involve drawing. You will
be learning to draw by using math (or perhaps you will be
learning to solve mathematics problems by drawing). A good
drawing takes time; I expect that you will spend at least 2
hours on your sketches, so make sure you carve out time for
this. Most students tell me that these sketches (a) take
longer than they would have expected and (b) give them a real
sense of accomplishment.
course of the semester, you will "adopt" a piece of art that
uses (or perhaps deliberately misuses) perspective to create an
illusion—I will say more about this assignment once class
begins. During the first few weeks of class, you will choose the piece of art
and make sure that I approve of your choice. In October,
you will write a paper describing the piece and placing it in an
artistic context. In November, you will write a paper
describing the mathematics of the perspective in this
piece. Each of these two papers will become part of the
reading assignments for the entire class. For this reason,
each of these papers will have 3 different deadlines: one for
one-third of the class; another for another third of the class;
and a third for the last five students.
We're going to learn a lot about library research: this
link (developed by our class librarian, Louise Kulp) might
help you get started.
times on the Fridays after these assignments are due will be
devoted to discussing and critiquing the papers that your peers
have written. All students will be expected to participate
in these discussions.
16, the final ten-page paper will be due (your final art project
will be due the same day). This paper will describe both
the artistic and mathematical aspects of your work . . . that
is, it will combine and improve upon the ideas and prose of the
previous two papers.
you to read your text, your classmates’ papers, and (eventually)
Flatland and to be prepared to discuss these assignments.
In addition, you will be reading scholarly work related to your
“adopted” piece of art.
I love to
talk about math, art, or life in general. Please feel free
to ask me questions both in and out of class; I've got a lot of
office hours and am around a good deal of the time. I’m
even more congenial if you bring me chocolate.
preceptor, Andrew Masterleone, is brilliant and creative.
In addition, he writes prose that is specific and
evocative. May you do the same.
The Writing Center
(717-291-3866) is available for those who want help with their
written projects, and there are also several undergraduate
mathematics teaching assistants who hold regular hours (their
schedules will be announced shortly).
-- this page last updated
August 2011, by Annalisa