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Home > 2013 Mathematical Art Exhibition
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"Truchet from Truchet Tiles," by Robert Bosch (Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH)

18" x 18", Digital print on canvas, 2012

Father Sébastien Truchet (1657-1729) was a Carmelite clergyman. He was King Louis XIV's favorite hydraulic engineer. He designed fonts. And in 1704 he published an article, "Mémoire sur les combinaisons," that described his mathematical and artistic investigations into how a simple set of square tiles, each divided by a diagonal into a white half and a black half, can be arranged to form an infinity of pleasing patterns. Today, Truchet's tiles are known as, well, Truchet tiles. To create a Truchet-tile portrait of Truchet, I started with the orientations specified by Pattern D of Plate 1 of Truchet's article. I then allowed the diagonals of the tiles to "flex" or bend at their midpoints. To make a tile darker, I would flex the diagonal into the black half. To make a tile brighter, I would flex the diagonal into the white half. With my Flexible Truchet Tiles, I can approximate any grayscale image, using the image to "warp" any initial pattern of Truchet tiles. -- Robert Bosch

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American Mathematical Society