Juan Gris' Compositional Symmetry Transformations

James Mai
Proceedings of Bridges 2012: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2012)
Pages 283–290 Regular papers


Cubist painter, Juan Gris, developed his compositions with at least four types of symmetry transformation. Unlike any other Modern artist, Gris rooted the radical and disorienting innovations of Cubist space in compositional traditions of symmetry. Through close analyses of works representative of the main phases of Gris' painting, the author demonstrates how symmetry operations were at the foundation of the artist's compositional methods and how those methods evolved. Translations, rotations, reflections, and glide reflections not only account for visual composition, but they also form the basis for Gris' creative objective of "visual poetry."