Make your own free website on

1. Introduction

Computers can do miracles. But, art is not a fruit of a miracle. Instead, it is a product of heavy efforts of a high spirit. On the contrary, there is a widespread public opinion that computer can automatically produce good visual art. Internet sites are crowded with  "computer art" experiments being produced by different graphical packages. Among software tools for home made "easy art", fractals are trendy nowadays. There is a reason. The main disadvantage of classic computer graphics is its failure in producing complex, non-geometric forms. So, objects like clouds, rocky cliffs, vegetation, water waves etc., looks better being represented by fractal approximations. Fractal approximations use classic Euclidean elements: polygons and polyhedrons. But, the final output is much closer to (ideal) fractal, and thereby to a natural object, than to any Euclidean geometric form. On the one hand, this fractal software is helpful but on the other, it raises a dangerous illusion that this very software is a shortcut to the real art.
When Mandelbrot book [Mand] has been issued, a new era of geometry started. In this "fractal Bible" it was noted that fractals (the term coined by Mandelbrot) had been noticed for many years in different areas: physics, biology, chemistry, geology, economy etc., without having a common viewpoint.  It was also shown that fractal geometry opened the door of further science. But, it was also assuredly shown (by computer-made landscapes and planets of R. F. Voss) that fractal objects possess a high level of beauty.  One of the books by Peitgen and Richter [Peit1] was entitled "The Beauty of Fractals". Also, Michael Barnsley, a key person in developing of constructive theory of fractal sets (by introducing IFS theory) noticed beauty of fractals and its possible application in advantage computer graphics. Francis Moon in [Moon] finds lots of beauty in "strange attractors", these graphical "portraits" of chaotic processes.

The topic of this paper is to give contribution in answering to the question "Are fractals themselves pieces of art?"  and "Can fractals be used in promotion of art?"  Section 2 is devoted to somehow inverted study: have painters or sculptors used fractal structures in their works through centuries? In Section 3, a parallel between bifurcation phenomena (the spine of chaos theory) and development of art through history is considered. In the final section, conditions are posed to the Iterated Function Systems (IFS's) in order that they produce fractals that possess some aesthetic properties (proportion, rhythm, symmetry).