Is there any evidence for the Golden Ratio/Mean whatsoever?

## Join 500,000+ Artists

Its' free and it takes less than 10 seconds!

# Thread: Is there any evidence for the Golden Ratio/Mean whatsoever?

1. ## Is there any evidence for the Golden Ratio/Mean whatsoever?

I used the golden mean (1:1,618) a lot in art many years ago, after learning about it in school, found it everywhere I looked and thought if it as an almost magical shortcut to good composition. However, when trying to find systematic evidence for this, it was very hard to come by. Is there really any reason to think that subdividing objects according to this rule has any advantage, as opposed to say, 1:1,5 or 1:1,3? Something strong enough to convince a natural skeptic?

2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
3. Registered User
Join Date
Feb 2006
Location
Fallingwater
Posts
5,080
Thanks
1,516
Thanked 5,161 Times in 1,707 Posts
Follows
0
Following
0
A great composition will fall into many architectonic schemes. Thus, if one looks for a particular geometry or ratio in a great composition, one will find it and think "ah, that is the answer to good composition!" But this is an error of induction. Intelligent but unwise people constantly fall into such errors.

Ratios are the artistic equivalent of get-rich-quick-schemes. Most people who get involved in them don't get much work done and remain poor.

4. ## The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to kev ferrara For This Useful Post:

+ Show/Hide list of the thanked

5. Jester
Join Date
Jun 2007
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Posts
1,382
Thanks
15
Thanked 457 Times in 322 Posts
Follows
0
Following
0
Originally Posted by PaleBluePixel
I used the golden mean (1:1,618) a lot in art many years ago, after learning about it in school, found it everywhere I looked and thought if it as an almost magical shortcut to good composition.
Did you know that 1:1,618 is not the golden mean, but only an approximation? And can you really eye ball the difference between 1:1,618 and 1:1,61, or 1:1,6?

Once upon a time, Greek philosophers coined a good ratio into a formula, and from there it is philosophy or, if you want, mathematics. For most practical intents and purposes, 2:3 works as well, and is easier to apply...

6. Looked around a bit; found this:

http://goldenratiomyth.weebly.com/ph...sychology.html

May or may not be of relevance.

7. i wonder about it all the time.

well first off yeah there are alot of self fulfilling examples in art history

secondly i think there is an awful lot of fudgeing involved to make things fit into it when it comes time to cite examples.

but regardless i think there is a replicable beauty in natures chaos.
i think few artists really understand this, and the ratio isn't the solution.

on another note always wonder if there is truth to the Fibonacci sequence in how plants and trees grow.

shrug

8. IMO, it's not the 1.618 of Fibonacci that's important but the process of how it is formed, from a feedback loop of sums feeding back into the process.
like a sketch that notes down the idea, then the sketch informs more of how the idea should be, then the process keeps going one informing the other to the next one.

9. ## The Following User Says Thank You to enrigo For This Useful Post:

10. Originally Posted by blogmatix
Looked around a bit; found this:

May or may not be of relevance.

So far, doesn't seem very promising. No overwhelming support from members or more scientifically oriented sources, yet a dogma taught at art school (at least mine) uncritically.

Enrigo, not quite sure what you mean, could you elaborate, possibly with some concrete example?

11. Okay I will try to elaborate this the best I can:

You know how the Fibonacci sequence goes 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 8 and it keeps going forever. So to know the next step, you will have to work out the last step first.

The Golden Ratio is what is derived to predict how much the next one will grow. IMO the form of definitive answer in the golden ratio is why it is a 'get rich quick scheme' because it tries to bypass the process.

What I think is the Fibonacci process is a good analogy to how ideas and art making works; If your have a process that looks similar to that feedback system then it will guarantee a good outcome.

Say you start off with an rough thoughts or idea - then you sketch a thumbnail down of that idea. You might notice something else to add to in the process, and that will help you develop the linear sketch , then you bring references in to the next step, then that helps you to do tones. You can't figure out the next step fully until you work out the latest step first.

12. ## The Following User Says Thank You to enrigo For This Useful Post:

13. Very interesting video. I understand that he basically goes through the process of creating a good composition with emphasis on experimentation with different alternatives, and dividing the process strictly into different phases to avoid getting ahead of oneself. Any material on composition beyond beginner level (foreground-middle ground-background, diagonal lines, S-shapes etc, co-ordination between layout and direction of movement/vision etc) are appreciated.

14. Jester
Join Date
Jun 2007
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Posts
1,382
Thanks
15
Thanked 457 Times in 322 Posts
Follows
0
Following
0
Originally Posted by enrigo
Okay I will try to elaborate this the best I can:

You know how the Fibonacci sequence goes 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 8 and it keeps going forever. So to know the next step, you will have to work out the last step first.
It is a sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ... and not an infinite sum.

The Golden Ratio is what is derived to predict how much the next one will grow. IMO the form of definitive answer in the golden ratio is why it is a 'get rich quick scheme' because it tries to bypass the process.
You're overcomplicating things. The golden ratio is defined as a ratio a/b for which a/b=(a+b)/a (check out the wikipedia if you want to learn more). It happens to be equal to the limit of the ratio between two consecutive terms of Fibonnacci's sequence, which was once developed to model the behaviour of fucking rabbits...

15. I don't consider the effects of using the golden ratio that impressive. I consider Escher's experiments in tesselation more interesting. It's worth acknowledging that math does open up different possiblities.

16. Originally Posted by PaleBluePixel
I used the golden mean (1:1,618) a lot in art many years ago, after learning about it in school, found it everywhere I looked and thought if it as an almost magical shortcut to good composition. However, when trying to find systematic evidence for this, it was very hard to come by. Is there really any reason to think that subdividing objects according to this rule has any advantage, as opposed to say, 1:1,5 or 1:1,3? Something strong enough to convince a natural skeptic?
Have a look at the final appendix in Harold Speeds "Practice and Science of Drawing" where he deals with this exact subject.
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14264

On a more modern note, what ratio is your television.?

17. Registered User
Join Date
Jun 2007
Posts
79
Thanks
211
Thanked 54 Times in 41 Posts
Follows
0
Following
0

18. Registered User
Join Date
Oct 2008
Location
the South
Posts
394
Thanks
15
Thanked 70 Times in 64 Posts
Follows
0
Following
0
As far as the golden ratio simply being a prediction of the next number in the Fib sequence, i'm pretty sure that's absolutely untrue, and I've done quite a bit of personal reading on this, because I'm entirely fascinated with it and probably a bit obsessed as well. Now, I say that it's untrue primarily because it was used long before the mathematician Fibonacci was alive to create the sequence, so it couldn't be as a result of that. Primarily I believe Phidias used it in his sculptures (he did the sculptures for the Parthenon).

The entire point of the ratio, in as far as I understand it, isn't just about forming the next number in a sequence based on the ones before it, it's about incorporating part one with part two, and part two with part one and two together, so that at the end you have what the Greeks dubbed a perfect ratio because all three play off one another in a sort of perfect harmony, the same way your final painting plays off your sketch and the application of your paint (or at least it should).

Now, I do believe that a lot of times people force it into nature where it may not be, but if you're going to say that it isn't in nature at all, I think you probably didn't look very hard.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•
• 424,149 Artists
• 3,599,276 Artist Posts
• 32,941 Sketchbooks
• 54 New Art Jobs