Math + Art:
Mondrian and Art As
Today's Snack: With an adult's help and a sharp knife and cutting
board, cut a piece of whole wheat bread into several small squares and
rectangles. Mix them up on a small plate. Then put them back together like a
puzzle. Once you "solve" your bread puzzle, blob a little peanut butter and
jelly on your plate, pick up each piece of bread, dip it into the p.b. &
j., and eat. A glass of milk which is in another shape - a cylinder - would go
paper or cardstock
(In advance, adult
should cut squares and rectangles in primary colors,
but children can cut
them smaller if they wish)
Thin black electrical
tape OR a thick black magic marker
Scissors | ruler | Scotch
(pronounced "Peet Moan dree OHN") was a Dutch artist. He grew up in the
Netherlands. He lived from 1872 to 1944. Mondrian started off as a teacher, and
painting was his hobby. At first, he painted realistic landscapes. But later,
he developed a unique style all his own. And it was based on math!
Mondrian changed the
way that people thought about art. Instead of being a realistic scene or a
portrait of a person, art could be "abstract." We call art "abstract" if it
doesn't look pretty close to something that's real.
Mondrian was famous
for using horizontal and vertical black lines, and bright, colorful squares and
rectangles, to express what he thought was very real - nature. He showed us
nature not in a realistic way, but in an abstract way. He thought if you left
out details and clutter, you could get to the pure harmony of nature and show
what it's like at its core.
Math is just like
that. Using geometry (jee AHM uh tree), the kind of math that works with
points, lines, angles and shapes, you can make a work of art that has meaning,
but it doesn't look like anything you see in the real world. it is abstract,
meaning it represents ideas, but it doesn't have pictures and words that could
get in the way. Just shapes, lines and colors.
Here are some examples of Mondrian's art work:
Now you can make art and use math skills, the way
Let's focus on three math terms before we get started:
Lines that go up and
down are "vertical" lines. Can you see vertical lines in Mondrian's artwork?
Lines that go from side
to side are "horizontal" lines. Point to horizontal lines in Mondrian's
picture. Can you see different lengths?
Lines that run along at
the same distance from one another are called "parallel." Can you see parallel
lines in Mondrian's work?
Now use the materials
to make a picture like Mondrian's that uses a white background, vertical and
horizontal lines, parallel lines, rectangles, squares and the primary colors,
red, yellow and blue.
You can copy Mondrian's
patterns, or make one of your very own!
By Susan Darst Williams • www.AfterSchoolTreats.com • Math +
Art • © 2015