Magic Squares

A great Saturday food for the mind: magic squares. They have been quite famous as a part of the “recreational mathematics”. So today I thought I will talk about some famous magic squares: the one from Albrecht Durer’s painting and the one on the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. If you want to find out more about magic squares in general check History Facts to their Best.

Albrecht Durer’s Painting 

Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a painter, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance. Some mathematicians are really excited for one of his painting: Melencolia I. It is an allegorical composition which has been the subject of many interpretations. The work has been the subject of more modern interpretation than almost any other print, including a two-volume book by Peter-Klaus Schuster, and a very influential discussion in Erwin Panofsky’s Dürer monograph. But I don’t want to talk more about these interpretations.

The magic square in the painting is very interesting. It is a  4 × 4 magic square, with the two middle cells of the bottom row giving the date of the engraving: 1514. The square features the traditional magic square rules based on the number 34, but has something extra. In the images bellow I have highlighted the other numbers that give the sum 34:

Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

The Passion facade of the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, Spain features a four-by-four magic square. In 1987 Catalan sculptor Josep María Subirachs joined the construction of the cathedral, adding his controversial sculptures. Behind these figures is a magic square that appears to be his own design.

The square is a modified version of the one from Melancolia I by repeating some of the numbers, in which each row, column, and diagonal add up to 33, the age that Jesus is said to have died according to the bible.  But all the other patterns found in Durer’s square appear in this one too.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what other famous magic squares you know about, I would love to know. Have a great day. You can find me on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  Twitter,  Instagram  and  WeHeartIt. I will try to post there as often as possible.

Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy! ~LThMath

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