September 8, 2011

Pythagorean Fractal Tree

Pythagorean Fractal Tree was designed by Koos Verhoeff, cast in bronze by Anton Bakker and  Kevin Gallup, and displayed at the first art and mathematics conference in Albany, New York, in 1992.

Born in Holland in 1927, Verhoeff studied mathematics and computer science. He worked for a time at the Mathematical Center in Amsterdam, where he encountered the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, who often came to the center to research mathematical ideas he applied to his artworks.

Inspired by Escher, Verhoeff ended up pursuing the application of mathematics and computers to art. One of his main interests after his retirement in 1988 was the discovery and development of artistic structures based on geometric principles.

Fractal formations (trees), in which small pieces of a structure echo the appearance of the entire structure, inspired the branched structure shown above.


Peterson, I. 2001. Fragments of Infinity: A Kaleidoscope of Math and Art. Wiley.

Photo by I. Peterson

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