UGED1533 - Mathematics in Visual Art - 2017/18

Course Year: 


  • The Final Examination will take place in-class on Nov 28, 2017.

General Information


  • CHAN, Ping Shun
    • Office: LSB 209
    • Email:
    • Office Hours: By appointment.

Time and Venue

  • Lecture: 10:30AM ­ 1:15PM Lee Shau Kee Building 201

Course Description

This course aims to help students appreciate the role which mathematics plays in the development of Western visual art, discern mathematical elements in visual artworks, and reflect on the oft-held belief that there exists an impassable gulf between art and science. Topics include: the role which mathematics plays in Greco-Roman aesthetic theories, the mathematical basis of linear perspective in painting, the mathematics behind different models in colour theory, planar symmetries in visual art and their connection to group theory, and mathematical methods in the analysis of artworks.


  • Due Week 11 (Nov 14)
    Writing Assignment.
  • Due Oct 24
    Watch this video. We will discuss it in class.
    (The close captioning on the video appears to be machine-generated, so it's not perfectly accurate.)
  • Due Oct 10
    Reading Assignment: Perspective, Rex Vicat Cole. Ch. 1-2.
  • Due Week 4 (Sep 26)
  • Due Week 3 (Sep 19)
    Read the section "THE ANCIENT SOURCES" at the end of Richard Tobin's The Canon of Polykleitos, then write down your reflections on the material in a one-paragraph essay to be submitted in class.
  • Due Week 2 (Sep 12) In-class Quiz:
    • When did Vitruvius (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio) live?
    • Where did he live?
    • What did he do for a living?
    • Tell us one thing about him that interests you.

    Recommended reading: De Architectura, Vitruvius. Book III Ch. 1.

Presentation Slides

Assorted Images

Useful Links

Assessment Scheme

In-class short-answer tests and other activities. 50%
Final Exam 50%

Honesty in Academic Work

The Chinese University of Hong Kong places very high importance on honesty in academic work submitted by students, and adopts a policy of zero tolerance on cheating and plagiarism. Any related offence will lead to disciplinary action including termination of studies at the University. Although cases of cheating or plagiarism are rare at the University, everyone should make himself / herself familiar with the content of the following website:

and thereby help avoid any practice that would not be acceptable.