Inez Wijnhorst

Lisboa, Portugal

Through a journey of artistic, philosophical, and geometrical deductions, I found that the simple ‘Pythagorean triangle’ of 3,4,5 cm can be used as an instrument, that allows to encounter a common ground in the Babylon of measurement systems. This model can also be used to accurately draw planets at scale. I present here two of the pages of a handmade limited edition artist book with the title: Measure is Treasure, Unusual uses for the Pythagorean triangle. These drawings, with a few simple lines, condense a wealth of information.

instructions for making an inch with a 3, 4, 5 cm triangle
14 x 18 cm
Toner transfer and high pigmented lightfast color pencil on Moleskine notebook

As an artist I always tried to understand how I could easily measure and think in centimeters and was not able to understand how to measure in inches. It seemed like two completely different languages. I feel very grateful that I found a geometric possibility to resolve this practical issue. An inch can be expressed as 1,8 √2 cm, which can be drawn very easily with the help of an 3,4,5 cm triangle. This simple drawing links two different measurement systems. We can see one square centimeter and one square inch and how they relate to the Pythagorean triangle.

Instructions for drawing the sun
14 x 18 cm
toner transfer and high pigmented lightfast color pencil on Moleskine notebook.

With this little drawing we can exactly draw the sun at scale (1cm = 10 000 million km), the measure of the sun is according to the IAU (Inter-Division A-G Working Group on Nominal Units for Stellar & Planetary Astronomy). We can also find the distance from the earth to the sun (0,03% divergent of the mean distance given by NASA).