prev home next

Eve Torrence


"Solar System"

Watercolor on paper, 8.5'' x 8.5'' x 8.5", 2009.

This polyhedron is comprised of ten tetrahedra. Two mirror-image compounds of five tetrahedra are merged to form the solid. When the polyhedron is rendered in a single color it is difficult to distinguish the individual tetrahedra, in part because some pairs of faces are coplanar. To help the viewer resolve this visual puzzle, the ten tetrahedra have been painted with distinct patterns and colors, which are suggestive of the Sun and the nine planets. The overall star-like quality of the polyhedron, and the tight entwining of the tetrahedral "planets", is evocative of our solar system.

Eve Torrence, Professor of Mathematics, Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, Virginia

"I love the symmetric beauty of polyhedra and enjoy using paper to create models to study. Through the process of creating a model I am able to truly understand its structure. My own curiosity about the underlying structure of this compound of ten tetrahedra led me to make a multicolored model. I was inspired by the 2009 exhibit 'Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope' celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discovery of our moon's craters. This model pays homage to Renaissance depictions of the solar system that used various polyhedra to model the celestial bodies."