Albrecht Dürer’s Heptagon

February 26th, 2009 | Categories: general math, Wolfram Demonstrations | Tags:

I first came across Albrecht Dürer, an artist from the 15th and 16th centuries, while looking into pentaflakes a little while back.  In the comments section of the pentaflake post someone pointed me to a wonderful picture of a Rhino drawn by Dürer.

Durer's Rhinoceros

What makes this picture particularly amazing to me is that Dürer had never even seen a Rhino when he produced it.  Well, thanks to the Wolfram Demonstrations project, Dürer has made another appearance in my consciousness.  It turns out that he laid out a recipe for producing a heptagon using nothing more than a straight-edge and a compass and Ralf Schaper has brought this bang up to date by showing all of the steps in a Wolfram Demonstration.

Heptagon construction

I wonder what other mathematics Dürer had a hand in?

  1. kentozaki
    February 26th, 2009 at 15:36
    Reply | Quote | #1

    He has a pretty famous magic square. It is in the top right of ‘Melencolia I’.

  2. Mike Croucher
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:18
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Thanks for that – The Mathworld link you gave me also mentions Dürer’s Solid which is depicted in the same picture as the magic square.

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