A comparison of Georg Cantor and Vincent Van Gogh

By Miah Rockwell


Humans have known for centuries that art and math go hand in hand. Neither can exist without the other.

Without art, math would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Without art there would be no graphs, reference pictures, or shapes. There would be no way to build complex buildings, since blueprints could not exist without art.

Without math, there would be no art. There would be no perspective, depth, proportion or vanishing points. Each are important parts of art composition. Art is a visual representation of numbers and math is a numerical representation of art.

Proportion is the size of something in a piece of art in relation to the whole piece. Depth is the use of layers to create an illusion that the painting goes on beyond what we see. A vanishing point is where invisible lines meet on the horizon of a painting.


The golden ratio or golden rule is a mathematical tool used by artists for centuries. Georg Cantor, German mathematician and Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter, are two completely different men but together they create a living representation of the golden ratio, a perfect blend of math and art.

Georg cantor had artistic parents. His mother was a musician,and his father was a merchant. Georg originally planned to become a violinist, but later found his passion lie in math. He became a professor at Halle (hah luh) university. His work was not taken seriously during his life time and it was only after his death that his contributions to math became known and appreciated. Cantor suffered from mental illness and was institutionalized near the end of his life. (Britannica)

Vincent van Gogh had religious parents who never approved of his artistic lifestyle. Originally Van Gogh planned on becoming a pastor like his father, but he was not successful and later became a painter. Van Gogh’s work was not taken seriously by anyone except his little brother Theo, until after his death, and he’s now thought of as one of the best post impressionists. Van Gogh suffered from mental illness and lived at a mental hospital where he painted a majority of his paintings. He later died from an apparent suicide. (Britannica)

George cantor was married with six children at the time of his death in the mental hospital at age 72. He died of a heart attack on January 6 1918. His rival, Leopold Kronecker constantly tried to discredit cantor and constantly ridiculed his work, which deeply affected Cantor and lead him to have a mental breakdown. Cantor contributed much to the world of mathematics through his work with transfinite numbers and set theory. His work is extremely important today especially when working with limits and continuity

Van Gogh was a hopeless romantic though he never married or had children. He died at age 37 from an apparent suicide though it is speculated he was actually murdered by Claude Monet. His former friend turned rival Paul Gauguin once lived with Van Gogh. The two later fought and separated. It’s theorized that Gauguin was the one to cut off Van Gogh’s ear but van Gogh hid it. Vincent’s art still inspires artists and is important to art history

Music is a bridge between art and math. It connects both in a way almost every human and many other living things enjoy. Georg Cantor loved music; it was what he wanted to do professionally before he studied math. What I would like to do now is share with you a song written from pi by a Youtubechannel called aSongScout. No one has to watch it or listen to it, but I recommend it as a final example on the beauty of the marriage of math and art.