Number 3 has been known as the number with universal importance and a variety of interpretations, from the catholic concept of the triad, the tripartite nature of the world as heaven, water, and earth to the basic concept of what it means to be human: soul, body, and spirit.
Traditional civilizations gave importance to this number, for instance Celtic mythology and religion often depicted number 3 within the Mother Goddess (the most important deity on the Celtic world) always represented with three elements or persons (cornucopia, fruit, animals on its knee or even a child on her arms) always as a triad:
The Celtic culture gave number 3 a special place not only within its religious perception but within art representations that often-shown figures, animals, and objects in three units, and even within the initiation ceremonies of Druids until today´s Celtic shamanism, number 3 represents different perceptions following their rituals.
Despite that the history of number 3 is being numerously described within religion, exact sciences, anthropology and even biology, an interesting perspective of number 3 and its significance can be viewed from its artistic perspective and its influence on art.
Is important to address its definition within art because as Pablo Picasso said: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”, in other words, art as part of the essence of the humanity goes beyond the ordinariness of life and give us a breath on new air.
The intrinsic relationship of number 3 with art and its different interpretations is constantly depicted within artist works revealing an enormous significance on this field. Examples are infinite, however one of the remarkable works on No. 3 was represented in 1950 Pollock´s canvas called literary “Number 3”, where he creates multiple strands with paint to have an “intricate web of interwoven colors” as it can be seen as follows:
Now, from another perspective called the post impressionism, one of its main figures: Vincent Van Gogh, depicted number 3 in his “Three Sunflowers series (August 1888)”, a canvas always hidden in private collections until displayed in 1948 and not even published in colors until 1980.
And it was not by luck that the situation within the collectors of art happened, as this remarkable painting reflects a different approach to Van Gogh´s previous works on sunflowers. As it can be seen, this picture has a turquoise background and the 3 sunflowers that give us a sense of reality and beauty within those 3 elements depicted:
 Van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers (August 1888) Private collection.
Finally, one last view from number three in art can be seen in René Magritte´s oil on canvas: “The False mirror” (Paris 1929), with a tridimensional form of the eye and the contrast between the black pupil, the clouds represented on the iris and the exterior part of the eye known as the eyelids.
The painting described represents Magritte´s thinking and movement called “surrealism” where a threshold position between the 3 elements: (i) The inner; (ii) the subjective self and (iii) its external word where really important and often depicted among his works as it was described by a quote on the canvas at the Museum of Modern Art in New York MOMA´s exposition.
As you can see, the picture is not showed within this paper as it can be discovered by the readers who may have three different interpretations as the proper Magritte explained:
“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”