The “golden ratio” has been a subject of fascination for artists and mathematicians for millenia. The golden ratio occurs in nature, and is a mathematical formula used by artists, designers, architects, and even musicians in creating beauty.
What is this magic ratio? Technically it’s 1.1688. But for artistic uses it’s often simplified to this: 1:1.5, or a 2:3 ratio.
The Swiss architect Le Corbusier, who applied the golden ratio (as well as the related Fibonacci sequence) in his work, believed the golden ratio naturally appeals to the human eye, and that people throughout time and space are drawn to it whether they know it as mathematical formula or not.
Corbusier’s idea is an intriguing one, and there’s ample evidence to support it. Art and science both recognize that faces and figures considered “beautiful” throughout history have features that relate to each other in the golden ratio. Leonardo da Vinci was intrigued by the golden ratio and depicted it in his famous Vitruvius Man (above).
Architecture, art, and design of all media also use a 2:3 ratio in many applications for good aesthetics. These two diagrams show “good” and “bad” proportion in art compositions—the “good” rectangle approximating the golden ratio.
In addition, well-proportioned clothing has historically been based on the golden ratio. Here’s a picture from a 1926 high school home economics textbook, in a chapter about proportion in clothing construction. The figure on the right captures it; the one on the left is off. The two sections of the dress at right are generally in golden-ratio proportion, and the sleeve divides the girl’s arm into golden ratio sections.
Isn’t this fascinating?
Please come check out my collection of well-proportioned vintage dresses, vintage shoes, and other vintage clothes at Chronologie Fine Vintage! Love,