Stellations of Dodecahedrons in Art and Culture


Regular star polyhedra first appear in Renaissance art. A small stellated dodecahedron is depicted in a marble tarsia on the floor of St. Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy, dating from ca. 1430 and sometimes attributed to Paulo Ucello. Wenzel Jamnitzer published his book of woodcuts Perspectiva Corporum Regularium in 1568. He depicts the great dodecahedron and the great stellated dodecahedron - this second is slightly distorted, probably through errors in method rather than ignorance of the form. However there is no evidence that these artists understood the regularity of such figures.

In the 20th Century, Artist M. C. Escher's interest in geometric forms often led to works based on or including regular solids; Gravitation is based on a small stellated dodecahedron.

A dissection of the great dodecahedron was used for the 1980s puzzle Alexander's Star. It is a great dodecahedron with 30 moving pieces in the style of a magic polyhedron, (the most famous of which is the Rubik's Cube) which rotate in star-shaped groups of five around the outermost vertices. The challenge of the puzzle is to get it to a state in which each star is surrounded by five faces of the same color, and opposite stars are surrounded by the same color; this is equivalent to solving just the edges of a six-color Megaminx.

There are 29!×2^13 positions, or 7.2×1034


Alexander's Star

Norwegian artist Vebjorn Sands sculpture "The Kepler Star" is displayed at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. The star spans 14 meters, and consists of an icosahedron and a dodecahedron inside a great stellated dodecahedron.