The Mathematical Connections in the De Stijl movement

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The Mathematical Connections in the De Stijl movement

De Stijl or “The Style” is a movement that originated in Holland with the first publication of the periodical De Stijl in 1917. The works produced took art to a whole new level, pushing creativity to the new modern era. The emergence of the De Stijl movement coincided with constructivism in Russia, with influences from Cubism and the artist Kadinsky. However, the movement was not confined to just one art form. Similar to the Blue Rider and Bauhaus movements, De Stijl spanned to other forms of art like sculpture, furniture design, architecture, and graphic design. The movement continued up until the last published issue of De Stijl in 1931. Major contributors to the group include Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Georges Vantongerloo. These artists helped to define the De Stijl through their use of form and geometry inspired by mathematics.

The De Stijl movement is recognizable in the simplistic use of forms on a plane. Pieces produced during the period of the periodical’s production are distinguished from other abstract work of the time in this use of geometry. Unlike Cubism, De Stijl is more structured and less interested in conveying a particular object through analysis of the different perspectives. The De Stijl went beyond such an interpretation and headed towards a more utopian goal of perfect balance. Paul Overy explains, “The single element, perceived as separate, and the configuration of elements, perceived as a whole, were intended to symbolize the relationship between the individual and the collective (or the universal)” (8). This idea can be described as almost mysticism in that they were concerned with the overall symboli...

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...ple, their exploration with simple forms, planes, axis, and grids resulted in a balance. This balance, in turn, was part of the utopian idea of the De Stijl. The utopia represented the new age arising with technology and the future. It is no surprise that the De Stijl movement is one of the major forerunners of modern art, setting its own “formula” for inspiration.

Works Cited

Jaffe, H.C.L. The De Stijl Group: Dutch Plastic Art. Trans. Roy Edwards. J.M.

Meulenhoff, Amsterdam.

Joosten, Joop. “Paint and Sculpture in the Context of De Stijl.” De Stijl: 1917-1931

Visions of Utopia, pp. 50-67. Phaidon, Oxford: 1982.

Overy, Paul. De Stijl. Thames and Hudson, London: 1991.

Troy, Nancy J. The De Stijl Environment. The MIT Press, London: 1983.

Warncke, Carsten-Peter. The Ideal as Art De Stijl 1917-1931. Benedikt Taschen,

Germany: 1991.

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