golden ratio in art composition and design

“Without mathematics there is no art,”  said Luca Pacioli, a contemporary of Da Vinci.

{article source: The Golden Number, May 4, 2014 by

Just as the Golden Section is found in the design and beauty of nature, it can also be used to achieve beauty and balance in the design of art.  This is only a tool though, and not a rule, for composition, but still a good Art 101 lesson on laying out a painting on a canvas.

The Golden Section was used extensively by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Note how all the key dimensions of the room, the table and ornamental shields in Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” were based on the Golden Ratio, which was known in the Renaissance period as The Divine Proportion. The lines showing Da Vinci’s intricate use of the Divine proportion were creating using PhiMatrix golden ratio design and analysis software:

Da Vinci Last Supper showing golden ratio or phi proportions

Note on Da Vinci’s “The Annuciation” that the brick wall of the courtyard is at exact golden ratio proportions in relation to the top and bottom of the painting:


Even the fine details of the emblems on the table appear to have been positioned based on golden proportions of the width of the table:


Other golden proportions can be found in “The Annunciation” but these illustrate the point and give evidence of Da Vinci’s intent. See other examples of Da Vinci’s use of the Divine proportion here.

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