Art History Lab

Tessellation Art: From Ancient Civilizations to Modern Creations

The Fascinating World of Tessellation and the Art of Geometric Patterns

Tessellation is a fascinating art form that has been used for centuries to create intricate and complex patterns through the use of tiles. This technique involves creating a mosaic pattern by using repeated geometric shapes that fit perfectly together without leaving any gaps.

While the concept may seem simple, the history and applications of tessellation are extensive and varied. In this article, we will explore the history of tessellation, the use of tessellation patterns in art, and the role of geometric patterns in mathematics and science.

Tessellation Definition

Tessellation is a mathematical concept that involves the use of geometric shapes and patterns to create a mosaic pattern. The shapes can be repeated to cover a surface without leaving any gaps or overlaps.

The term “tessellation” is derived from the Latin word “tessella,” which means a small square tile used in ancient Roman mosaics. Other terms used for tessellation are tiling and tesselation.

The most common shapes used in tessellation are squares, triangles, and hexagons. These shapes fit together perfectly, creating a seamless pattern that covers the entire surface.

Other shapes, such as diamonds, pentagons, and octagons, can also be used to create tessellations.

The History of Tessellation Patterns

Tessellation patterns have been used by various ancient civilizations throughout history. One of the earliest examples of tessellation can be found in the Sumerian civilization, where clay tablets dating back to 4000 BCE depict repeated geometric patterns.

The Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Arabs, Moors, and Persians also used tessellations in their architecture, pottery, and art. One of the most celebrated examples of tessellation art can be found in the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.

The palace is adorned with intricate tessellation patterns that are made up of small polygons and stars. These patterns were created by the Moors, who believed that tessellation represented the universal intelligence of God.

Tessellation art was also very popular in Islamic art, particularly in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The art form, known as zellige, involves creating complex geometric designs with small glazed tiles.

These designs were used in mosques, palaces, and other Islamic structures, often with calligraphic inscriptions.

Tessellation Patterns in Art

In the world of art, tessellation patterns have been used to create visually stunning pieces. The use of geometric patterns, particularly the golden ratio, can create a sense of harmony and balance in a piece.

The golden ratio is a mathematical concept that has been used in art and architecture for centuries. It is found in nature, and many artists use it to create a sense of proportion in their works.

Some artists who used tessellation patterns in their work include Dutch artist M.C. Escher, who is famous for his mathematically inspired lithographs. Escher’s work often features impossible shapes and tessellated patterns that are mesmerizing to the eye.

Nature has also been an inspiration for many artists who have incorporated tessellation patterns into their art. Artist Ben Nicholson created a series of abstract compositions that were inspired by rock formations found on the coast of Cornwall, England.

The Role of Geometric Patterns in Mathematics and Science

Geometric patterns play a crucial role in mathematics and science. They are used to represent complex data sets, analyze patterns, and solve problems.

Geometry is the study of shape, size, and position of objects, and it forms the basis for many mathematical concepts, including calculus, trigonometry, and algebra. Tessellation patterns have also been used in science to create artificial materials that can mimic the properties of natural materials.

For example, researchers have developed structures that resemble the pattern of seashells by using tessellation patterns. These structures have unique mechanical properties that could be used in various engineering applications.

Conclusion

Tessellation is an ancient art form that has been used by many civilizations throughout history. From the Sumerians to the Moors, tessellation patterns have been used to create stunning architectural designs, pottery, and art.

In the world of art, tessellation patterns continue to inspire artists to create visually stunning works that explore the relationship between geometry and art. The use of geometric patterns also plays a crucial role in science and mathematics, and researchers continue to explore the potential applications of tessellation in material science and engineering.

Famous Tessellating Artists and Artworks

Tessellation is an art form that has been used by many artists throughout history to create complex and visually stunning patterns. These patterns have been used in various mediums, including painting, printmaking, architecture, and textiles.

In this article, we will explore three famous tessellating artists and two of their famous tessellation artworks. M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist known for his mathematically inspired mezzotints, lithographs, and woodcuts.

Escher’s work often featured impossible shapes and tessellated patterns that played with the viewer’s perception. He used tessellation to create intricate and complex patterns that evoke a sense of wonder and fascination.

One of Escher’s most famous tessellating artworks is “Sky and Water.” This woodcut features a series of birds and fish that transition smoothly from one to the other. The piece has a three-dimensional quality that draws the viewer in and plays with their perception of space.

The use of tessellation in this piece highlights Escher’s ability to create complex patterns that are both visually stunning and mathematically precise.

Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser was an Austrian artist who was a founding member of the Vienna Secession. He was known for his geometric designs in textiles, stained glass windows, ceramics, jewelry, and furniture.

Moser used tessellation to create intricate patterns that were both aesthetically pleasing and functional. One of Moser’s most famous tessellating artworks is a series of ceramic tiles that he created for the Vienna Secession building.

The tiles featured interlocking geometric patterns that were both simple and complex. The use of tessellation in this piece highlights Moser’s ability to create designs that are both functional and visually appealing.

Hans Hinterreiter

Hans Hinterreiter was a German artist who was trained as an architect. He was interested in the relationship between mathematics, art, and architecture, and he used tessellation to explore this relationship.

Hinterreiter’s work features geometric patterns that are both precise and playful. One of Hinterreiter’s most famous tessellating artworks is a series of paintings he created called “Opus 64” and “Opus 131 D.” These paintings feature interlocking geometric shapes and patterns that appear to recede into the distance.

The use of tessellation in these pieces highlights Hinterreiter’s ability to create complex patterns that are both mathematically precise and visually engaging.

Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine

The

Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine is a religious complex located in Mahan, Iran. The complex features a dome that is covered in turquoise tiles that form a tessellating pattern.

The tiles are arranged in a star shape that evokes a sense of harmony and balance. The use of tessellation in this piece highlights the importance of geometry in Islamic art.

Islamic artists used tessellation to create complex patterns that reflected the order and harmony of the universe. The

Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine is a beautiful example of how tessellation was used in Islamic art to create awe-inspiring and visually stunning works.

Conclusion

Tessellation is an art form that has been used by many artists throughout history to create visually stunning and mathematically precise works. From M.C. Escher’s playful and intricate patterns to

Hans Hinterreiter’s exploration of the relationship between art and architecture, tessellation has been used to create works that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

The use of tessellation in Islamic art also highlights the importance of geometry in creating complex and harmonious designs. The works of these famous tessellating artists and their famous artworks continue to inspire and fascinate people around the world.

Continuing the Tradition of Tessellation Art Today

Tessellation art is a timeless art form that continues to inspire and captivate people today. Modern artists are continuously pushing the boundaries of tessellation patterns to create new and unique works that reflect their personal style and creativity.

In this article, we will explore some modern artists who are continuing the tradition of tessellation art in their own way.

Alain Nicolas

Alain Nicolas is a French artist known for his intricate and complex geometric patterns. Nicolas creates tessellation patterns that are made up of circles and intricate arcs, producing intricate and mesmerizing designs.

His work is created using vector graphics software, which allows for precise and clean lines that are characteristic of his style. Nicolas has exhibited his work in galleries around the world, and his pieces are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Jason Panda

Jason Panda is an artist from Trinidad and Tobago who uses tessellation patterns in his colorful and whimsical works. Panda’s artwork often features animals and other organic shapes that are repeated and mirrored to create complex patterns.

His work is created using acrylic paint on canvas, allowing for bold colors and textures that add depth and dimension to his pieces. Panda’s use of tessellation patterns adds a playful and surreal quality to his artwork.

Francine Champagne

Francine Champagne is a Canadian artist who creates beautiful and intricate tessellation patterns using paper cutouts. Champagne’s work is inspired by the natural world, and her patterns often feature flowers, leaves, and other organic shapes.

She uses precision cutting techniques to create intricate lace-like designs that are both delicate and strong. Champagne’s work highlights the versatility of tessellation patterns and their ability to be used in various mediums.

Robert Fathauer

Robert Fathauer is an American artist who uses computer software to create intricate tessellation patterns. His work often features tessellations of simple shapes, such as squares and hexagons, that are seamlessly repeated in various configurations.

Fathauer’s tessellation patterns often have a three-dimensional quality that adds depth and movement to his pieces. His work is exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and he is considered one of the most important contemporary tessellation artists.

Regolo Bizzi

Regolo Bizzi is an Italian artist who uses tessellation patterns in his minimalist works. Bizzi’s work often features monochromatic color schemes and simple geometric shapes that are repeated and arranged in precise configurations.

His work has a calm and meditative quality that is achieved through the repetition of shapes and the use of negative space. Bizzi’s work reflects the uncluttered and clean aesthetic that has become popular in contemporary art.

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson is a British artist who creates intricate and vibrant tessellation patterns using paper cutouts. Wilson’s work is inspired by the natural world, and his patterns often feature animals and other organic shapes.

He uses bright colors and patterns to create works that are both whimsical and sophisticated. Wilson’s use of tessellation patterns adds movement and energy to his pieces, creating a sense of flow and liveliness.

Conclusion

From the work of

Alain Nicolas and his precise vector graphics to

Jason Panda’s playful and colorful canvases, tessellation art continues to evolve and inspire contemporary artists. The versatility of tessellation patterns is reflected in the works of

Francine Champagne and her delicate paper cutouts to

Robert Fathauer’s complex computer-generated works.

Regolo Bizzi’s minimalist works highlight the beauty of simplicity while

Mike Wilson’s use of vibrant colors and organic shapes adds a dynamic and lively quality to his pieces. These modern artists continue to push the boundaries of tessellation art and demonstrate the enduring appeal and possibilities of this timeless art form.

Tessellation art, with its intricate and complex patterns, continues to captivate and inspire artists today. From the renowned works of M.C. Escher to the modern creations of

Alain Nicolas,

Jason Panda,

Francine Champagne,

Robert Fathauer,

Regolo Bizzi, and

Mike Wilson, tessellation patterns have evolved and adapted across different mediums and styles.

This article explored the history of tessellation, its significance in Islamic art, the use of geometric patterns in mathematics and science, famous tessellating artists and their artworks, and the continuation of tessellation art in the modern era. Through their creativity and innovation, these artists showcase the enduring appeal and the limitless possibilities of tessellation art.

From the precise lines of

Alain Nicolas to the vibrant colors of

Mike Wilson, the world of tessellation art invites us to explore and appreciate the beauty of geometric patterns and their role in shaping our visual experiences.

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