Art and our Models

Many artists have been influenced by the mathematical models produced by Brill, Schilling and others. Barbara Hepworth (who had a talent for mathematics) wrote in 1935 about “some marvelous things in a mathematical school in Oxford -- sculptural working out of mathematical equations -- hidden away in a cupboard" [1], so it is likely that she saw our collection. Other noteworthy artists, with links to their relevant works, include: Antoine Pevsner; Naum GaboMan RayHenry MooreSugimoto HiroshiCarlo H. SéquinAnders SandbergTim PostonHelaman FergusonBernar Venet

The Oxford collection of models was the basis for the 2015 exhibition Illegitimate Objects for which artists and poets made new work for exhibition in the Andrew Wiles Building.

The Hepworth quotation above comes from the catalogue for the 2012 exhibition Intersections: Henry Moore and stringed surfaces.  The papers and articles [2,3,4,5,6] on the link between the mathematical models and art are worth reading if you are interested in how mathematics and art can interact.

PelagosKing LearBronze Spheric Theme

© Tate, London 2010, Copyright Bowness, Hepworth Estate (left)    

© Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2015 (centre)

© Naum Gabo, Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2012 (right)


[1] The Royal Society, "Intersections: Henry Moore and stringed surfaces" (4 April 2012 – 20 June 2012),

[2] Angela Vierling-Claassen, Mathematical Models and Art in the Early 20th Century,

[3] Isabelle Fortuné, Man Ray et les objets mathématiques,

[4] J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, Mathematics and art - perspective,

[5] George W. Hart, Creating a Mathematical Museum on Your Desk,

[6]  Richard Hammack, MATH 123 Visualization Day 1: Math as Readymade