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Abstract / Synopsis

Working in overlapping artistic circles in the first half of the twentieth century, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Piet Mondrian had very different intentions for how their pieces would affect viewers. But while their aims differed dramatically, the individual techniques they employed were both rooted in a mathematical foundation. Moholy-Nagy used simple two-dimensional shapes, scaled repetition of those shapes, and variations in perspective to illustrate the potential benefits of machine technology to the common person. Mondrian, alternatively, limited the elements in his work to perpendicular lines, asymmetry, and a dedicated adherence to the plane in order to align his viewer's metaphysical state with an underlying universal spirit. In this article, we focus on the mathematical inspiration and general intentions behind two pieces from the two artists, an untitled collage by Moholy-Nagy and Broadway Boogie Woogie by Mondrian, in the context of their writings and other works.

DOI

10.5642/jhummath.201901.06a

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