Art and Mathematics

This post is actually one of the comments in my Mathematics is an Art post. I thought it would be a waste to just leave it in the comments section. It’s very informative and well written so I’m sharing it here. That way more people will have a chance to read it. It’s from the writer of one of my favorite blogĀ Research in Practice, mr. benblumsmith. Here’s what he says about mathematics and art.

I want to add three defining characteristics (to me they are the defining characteristics) to the definition of art that you are constructing. I think all three help illuminate why math can be an art. I’m basing the choice of these characteristics on my own experience as a musician. Other artists might have other definitions, but actually I speculate that these are pretty commonly held as important characteristics of art.

1) Art is creative and expressive.

All the arts are about making things. Songs, paintings, plays, performances, etc. Crafts and industry are also about making things, but what distinguishes art is that the act of creation is an act of expression for the person doing the creating. Creating the painting, playing the sonata, singing the song, etc. are all ways of taking a part of yourself and giving it to others.

(Why math is creative and expressive: every time you figure out how to solve a problem you’ve never solved before, or how to prove a conjecture you have, you’ve made something new that expresses how your mind works to others.)

2) Art engages the imagination.

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