Maths in Art 1: The Golden ratio


Mathematics and art, to some, are polar opposites; maths the rigid, predetermined study of logic and numbers, art a great expanse of unrestricted freedom of creativity and personal expression, but look from a different angle the two become an intertwined body each feeding into the other. It is this link that I want to explore in what will hopefully evolve into an ongoing series concentrating mainly in the area of art.

First up is the golden ratio, a special number that makes shapes aesthetically pleasing. In short the number ensures that two numbers a and b are in the same ratio as a is with their sum a+b. Take a look at how the following rectangle is constructed.

This, it seems, is the most pleasing rectangle to look at. Usage extends from art to architecture to the margins in your favourite paperback.

Believe it or not, the clever old Egyptians used it when constructing their pyramids, taking a triangle cross-section the hypotenuse (outer edge) is in ratio with the lower edge by this magic number.

Leonardo Da Vinci Famously used it here in The Vetruvian Manshowing the beauty of man.

And again here is the ‘Mona Lisa’.

Other famous usage includes Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red’  and the Partheon in Rome

The ratio is also evident in nature, the above spiral is created by repeating the golden ratio outwards. Theexact same shape is replicated below.

Take a look around you, it’s everywhere, it’s fundamental in your life even if you didn’t know it.

Please let me know what you thought in the comments below, I’m already looking forward to the next instalment.

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2 responses to “Maths in Art 1: The Golden ratio

  1. Pingback: Maths in Art 4: Irrationals | TomCandy·

  2. Pingback: Maths in Art 6: Da Vinci | TomCandy·

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