Anti-Breughel. From the cycle: Dialogue with authors of the 16th century
No. 189, 1976
(Extra-mathematical associations in mathematical images)
India ink and pencil on paper, 46 x 74 cm.
This bizarre, fantastic, medieval- styled image is a meditation on "The Alchemist, " a famous engraving by Pieter Breughel. It is intended to be an ensemble of images and ideas reﬂecting the evolution of scientific thought during the past 300 years. Although this image illustrates no theorem in particular, mathematical ideas and images are laced throughout, giving rise to the image's underlying structure. For instance, cups of molten metal disappearing over the horizon suggest the idea of mathematical infinity. The twists and folds of the background clouds hovering in the sky call forth certain analytic functions. Various deformations of human bodies rest on the concept of homeomorphisms and homotopy. Throughout, the motions of figures and objects recall the concept of dynamic ﬂow.