Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Professor Bill Allen


When tourists--even homefolks--go through a modern art museum, many opinions are accumulated. Some people may have chills when they see a certain painting, while others get a sick feeling of dizziness when they see the same one. In fact, if there were an opinion box at the exit of an art show, I imagine you could almost accurately count the different opinions by counting the total number of people who viewed the show. Yet, there is one opinion that most 'ole foggies' (and I use the term loosely) would agree upon, and that is this: "Why that's nothing but a bunch of hog wash! My three-year-old granddaughter can fingerpaint as well as that." Yes, some modern art appears to have no basis, and it looks as though a brush was tied to a cow's tail. Yet, there are some great paintings in modern art which clearly show a basis--whether it be imaginary or precisely to the point. The basis I refer to is geometry. A lot of high school students complain about this one subject. I feel, however, the complaining is steered from the proof standpoint and not from the figure. Geometric figures are easily recognized, and here we won't be involved with the statements of proving them so.

What I have sought to do in this paper is to show how some artists used simple geometric figures as the foundations of their popular paintings, some worth many hundreds of dollars. Also, with the help of certain paintings and other examples, I have chosen two simple terms used in the earliest days of geometry that also apply to the art world. I have compared some paintings to geometric figures such as all forms of circles, triangles--equilateral and isosceles, quadrilaterals, and inscribed squares, triangles, and hexagons. All put together we'll see how modern art can be seen through geometric eyes.



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