We know that, for example,

impressionist painting is a style of art which uses small, thin, yet visible brush strokes,
cubist painting is a style of art that stresses abstract structure,
and so on.

So, my question is, what is the style of art in which small numbers are used to paint pictures (as in the picture below) called?

  • 1
    Can we ret-con it to be called Analog ASCII art? +1, because I've never seen that before.
    – Patrick M
    Jun 23, 2014 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


Numberism - Here is an Einstein.

From the comments - read about the origins.

  • 2
    Wow...did not know there was such a thing. Is there a corresponding form called Letterism? Punctuationism? Wingdingism? :)
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:42
  • 1
    Invented in 2008 by an approximately 24 year old: odditycentral.com/tag/sienna-morris
    – dcaswell
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:43
  • 1
    Ha - I saw a few Numberism examples at the MET last month. I think it covers numbers and equations. Anything to sell art. Sep 6, 2013 at 14:44
  • @JeffSahol: Google Ascii art for some real fun.
    – Merk
    Sep 9, 2013 at 10:29

Besides numberism, the term “coarse-grained pointillism” has been used. Beginning in the late 1960's Ken Knowlton at Bell Labs experimented with “photomosaic, creating large prints from collections of small symbols or images.” A variety of forms appear at knowltonmosaics.com.

  • 1
    Pretty sure pointillism isn't what the picture above depicts. But it is a form of art. Sep 6, 2013 at 19:00
  • 1
    @RyeBread Instead of splashes of colour, strokes, or dots, numbers are used to build up a portrait or a landscape. I've seen this type of mosaic done with the letters of the alphabet, and miniature snapshots in varying shades of greyscale or full colour.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2013 at 1:58
  • @Mari-LouA - That is not the same style. With pointillism you use points of color to build the portrait. Generally the entire canvas is covered. There are varying kinds. But generally mosaics are not pointillism. Pointillism deals with points, definitely not lines (numbers) or equations. As you noticed with jwpat's example there are number tiles used as points that fill the canvas, in the author's example the portrait is actually outlined with hand drawn numbers. I mean it is kind of close but its not right at all. Sep 7, 2013 at 2:21
  • Exactly, @RyeBread it is kind of close. Pointillism doesn't necessarily cover the entire canvas, some leave blank spaces, and in the OP's example, the numbers form an outline; so I would argue they are simply variations of marks on paper or canvas. Art historians/"experts" have labelled these forms of expressions for easy referencing. As for mosaics; they are not marks, but the principle of repeating (and gluing) a small sized shape until those shapes seemingly join together to form a single recognizable image is the inspiration behind pointillism etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2013 at 6:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.