Dürer’s Melencolia I is the most debated image in all of art history, one of his most magical, and one of his most heavily encoded.
Numeric Magic Squares consist of a series of numbers arranged in a square in such a manner that the sum of each row, each column and of both the corner diagonals adds up to the same amount, which is called the Magic Constant.
Numeric Magic Squares may be divided into two categories:
- “Odd” Magic Squares, which means that there is an odd number of cells on each side of the Magic Square.
- “Even” Magic Squares, which means that there is an even number of cells on each side of the Magic Square. “Even” Magic Squares may be further divided into two sub-categories:
- “singly even” Magic Squares, which means that the number of cells on each side of the Magic Square is evenly divisible by two, but not by four (e.g. 6 x 6 and 10 x 10 Magic Squares)
- “doubly even” Magic Squares, which means that the number of cells on each side of the Magic Square is evenly divisible by both two and 4 (e.g. 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 magic squares)
Dürer’s magic square is a doubly even 4 x 4 square whose magic constant is 34. Dürer’s magic square has the additional property that the sums in any of the four quadrants, as well as the sum of the middle four numbers, are all 34 (Hunter and Madachy 1975, p. 24). It is thus a gnomon magic square. In addition, any pair of numbers symmetrically placed about the center of the square sums to 17, a property making the square even more magical.
Here’s a YouTube video link that explains it in more detail. Unfortunately the math teacher did not know the difference between a painting and an engraving.
DAN BROWN’S LOST SYMBOL
Anyone who has ever commented on Dürer’s magic square seems to believe that it’s inclusion in this composition has something to do with alchemy or Freemasonry or some occult phenomenon.
Dan Brown’s inclusion of Dürer’s magic square as part of the symbol clues in his book the Lost Symbol was fiction. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lost Symbol was a great FICTION story but it has done nothing but confuse the real coding that is held in Dürer’s Magic Square.
Do you like to play Sudoku or do you know someone who does? Of course you do! People in the Renaissance loved to play games as much as everyone does today.
WHAT’S THE REAL MAGIC IN THE MAGIC SQUARE?