Renaissance painter and printmaker, Albrecht Dürer, is known for his theoretical studies of mathematics and his application of them in his art works. In particular, he developed methods of measurement and applying perspective and his use of these in his work is clear.

Does the use of mathematics as a production tool in this manner make a work of art mathematical? One might consider Dürer’s work in comparison to the well-known works of M. C. Escher who presented non-Euclidean geometry ideas and also used non-Euclidean properties as tools.

Dürer also used mathematical objects as subjects in his work. Note the appearance of a sphere, an octahedron, and a four by four magic square in his work, Melancholia. 

Does the use of such content automatically qualify an art work as mathematical? Might one argue that virtually all two-dimensional representation is inherently geometric content and hence mathematical art?

Artist: Albrecht Dürer

Title: Melancholia

Year: 1514

Medium: Engraving