Sunday, May 16, 2010
Jay Hambidge 1867-1924, a Canadian born artist and mathematician wrote Elements of Dynamic Symmetry. In the book Hambridge lays out the mathematical formulas that underline classical architecture and the structures of various parts. of nature. I expect that most of you have seen a nautilus shell with a drawing overlaid upon it to show the geometric and mathematical ratios of which it is composed. Hambidge laid out his idea of natural symmetry which some artists and many more designers have found useful. The book is still in print and can be had from Amazon.
Hambidge made careful measurements of the Greek temples including the Parthenon and reached a design theory he called dynamic symmetry. Much of it is based on root rectangles.The drawing below shows how they are created.If you draw a square and pull an ascending line from one corner to it's opposite, then measure along the base with that line you get a root v2 rectangle. If you draw a new line through the corners of that and drop it down to the baseline again you have a root 3 rectangle.
Forms designed with this system have pleasing proportions. Tomorrow I will take this out another step and we will see how it can be used to plot the arrangement of as painting in further posts. I do not use this system in my own painting except perhaps instinctively, but some classical realists are very fond of this stuff and I think It is useful to know a little about it.