The marble frieze patterns of the cathedral of Siena

Geometric structure, multi-stable perception and types of repetition

Yang Liu, Godfried Toussaint

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The marble pavement of the Cathedral in the Tuscan city of Siena in Italy has been described as one of the marvels of the world. Over the centuries much has been written about its biblical and political characters, the stories depicted in its figurative mosaics, the artists responsible for creating the mosaics, the types of marble used and the history of their construction. The many frieze patterns framing the figurative mosaics are noteworthy examples of geometric design, and yet, they have been conspicuously overlooked in the literature concerning this pavement. Here, the geometric frieze patterns found on the pavement, walls and ceiling of the Siena Cathedral are analysed in terms of their underlying geometric structure, the optical effects, such as multi-stable perception, that they engender in the viewer and a typology of patterns of repetition.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)115-127
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Mathematics and the Arts
    Volume5
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

    Fingerprint

    Marble
    Geometric Structure
    Pavements
    Geometric Design
    Ceiling
    Ceilings
    Repetition
    Perception
    Cathedrals
    Siena
    Figurative

    Keywords

    • architectural design
    • decorative arts
    • frieze patterns
    • geometric design
    • guilloche patterns
    • impossible figures
    • multi-stable perception
    • pavement mosaics
    • repetition
    • Siena Cathedral

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Mathematics(all)
    • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

    Cite this

    The marble frieze patterns of the cathedral of Siena : Geometric structure, multi-stable perception and types of repetition. / Liu, Yang; Toussaint, Godfried.

    In: Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Vol. 5, No. 3, 01.09.2011, p. 115-127.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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