Soviet Artist and Mathematician Anatolii Fomenko’s Mathematical Impressions
What Soviet science has to do with German Expressionism and the logic of intuition.
By Maria Popova
There is something singularly seductive about the convergence of mathematics and the visual arts. (Previously: Robin Moore’s string math portraits; Vi Hart’s Flatland on a Möbius strip; Kevin van Aelst’s food visualizations of scientific concepts.) Now comes Mathematical Impressions (public library) — the incredible illustrations of Soviet mathematician Anatolii Fomenko, exploring the intersection of mathematics and the myth of light geometry.
Since the 1970s, Fomenko has produced more than 280 illustrations, 84 of which — 61 black-and-white and 23 color — are collected in this remarkable anthology. Alongside the images are Fomenko’s original captions, illuminating both the inspiration for the artwork and the historical subtexts for it.
Anatolii Fomenko reflects on his work:
One can consider these images to be photographs of a strange, powerful, and fantastic mathematical world—one that exists, regardless of how we perceive it, according to its own special laws.
Originally published decades ago, Mathematical Impressions is an incredible intersection of logic and intuition, part Escher, part German Expressionism, part something else entirely.
Published March 1, 2011