Geometry of the Renaissance

A WebQuest for 10th Grade Geometry & Physics

Designed by

Josh Smith & Gregg Norris

In the Renaissance, there were many geometric shapes used in art and architecture. These were used as focal points to draw one’s attention to where the artist wanted the viewer to look.

NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Standard 3, Geometry, grades 9-12: Instructional programs should enable all students to use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems-

·        Use geometric ideas to solve problems in, and gain insight into, other disciplines and other areas of interest such as art and architecture.

Look at the picture below and find all of the different basic geometric shapes.

Looking at the way all of the shapes are arranged and angled. What did the artist want to be the focal point?

Exploitz.com!. (2004). Travel and adventure guide. Retrieved November 7, 2004, from http://www.exploitz.com/The-Last-Supper-picture.php

January, B. (1999). Science in the Renaissance. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts.

1.      Study the picture of “The Last Supper.”

2.      Draw and fill in the shapes that you see on the picture.

3.      Make a list of all of the different basic shapes you found and the number of each shape.

4.      What is the focal point of the picture and how did the shapes lead your eyes to the focal point?

5.      Using the basic geometric shapes, draw your own picture so the viewer’s eyes will flow to a focal point.

There are 15 rectangles, 2 trapezoids, 1 semi-circle, and 1 triangle.

The focal point is Jesus. All of the angles point toward the center where Jesus is sitting. The only semicircle is over Jesus’ head, and Jesus makes up the only triangle.

In this WebQuest, we have determined that basic geometric shapes played a major part in art from the Renaissance era. Geometry played a large role in other aspects of the Renaissance such as architecture, and even the studying of nature and its symmetry.

What are some other fields of study in which you might find geometry used?