03 Apr The Golden Spiral In Art & Nature
The Golden Spiral is one of the most elegant of all geometric patterns. It appears in a surprising number of places in the natural world, and it has inspired humans in the creation of some of our greatest works of art and architecture.
What Is The Golden Spiral?
The golden spiral is a logarithmic spiral which grows or expands at a very specific rate. That rate is known by many names: the Golden Mean, the Golden Ratio, the Divine Proportion, and more.
Mathematicians simply call it phi, or φ.
Like the more familiar π, phi is an irrational number which naturally occurs in geometry. It is found by dividing a line into two segments in such a way that the longer and shorter pieces have the exact same proportion as the longer segment has to the whole line.
Confusing? This picture is worth a thousand words:
Examples In Nature
Human beings first observed the Golden Spiral in the natural world, and were no doubt entranced by it long before they unlocked it’s secrets through geometry. Here are some stunning examples of the Golden Spiral in Nature.
The Human Body
Examples In Architecture
Once the ancient mathematicians had “cracked the code,” they began using the Golden Ratio in architecture and sculpture, resulting in some of the finest structures in human history.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Examples In Artwork
The Divine Proportion isn’t only used in architecture, it has also inspired some divine works of art, including some of the most famous and beloved paintings ever made:
Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci
Sacrament of the Last Supper, by Salvador Dali
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Hokusai
What are your favorite examples of the Golden Spiral (or Golden Ratio) from art, architecture, or in the natural world?