Monday, July 13, 2015

The Golden Section

Le Corbusier

Piet Mondrian

Salvidor Dali

Unbelievably tired, I’ve made every effort to tie up loose ends, i.e., things yet unfinished and jobs requiring attention – the exception being the completion of the patio on account of persistent light rain.

Some of these jobs were small, others required more time. The most important task was preparing the Church Friends on Friday activity for the 24th July. This will be an afternoon when attendees will be offered an opportunity of doing pictorial art.  I know there are ten more days before the meeting, but a surprising amount of detailed preparation has to be done on my part. This morning I was able to deal with the bulk of it, planning the content and nature of the activities, plus buying paper, plastic rulers and setsquares.

Now, why would I want rulers and setsquares? Let me explain:

The art activity will be centred on the theme of the Golden Section; also called the Golden Mean, the Divine Section, the Golden Cut or the Divine Proportion. Basically, it is a naturally occurring mathematical ratio of division found in nature. Some artists, designers and architects have incorporated the ratio into their creative works. Notable examples can be found in the works of the French architect Le Corbusier, the Dutch neoplastic painter Piet Mondrian and the Spanish surrealist artist Salvidor Dali.

With regard to the Golden Section; imagine a horizontal rectangle composed of a square and a vertical rectangle. The division between them is represented by a vertical line. In the case of the Golden Section, the ratio of division is 1 for the upper and lower sides of the square, and 0.618 for the upper and lower sides of the rectangle, giving a total of 1.618. Roughly this is a division of 8 units for the sides of the square and 5 units for the upper and lower sides of the rectangle. Divide 8 by 5 and you will come up with the exact ratio of 1.6.

An analysis of some of the works of Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian and Salvidor Dali reveals that they structured them on the Golden Section. They used Golden Section divisions as frameworks for strengthening and imparting beauty to their creations.

The theme of the art work at the forthcoming Friends on Friday gathering will be the Golden Section, and for determining where to make divisions in their paintings and drawings, participants will be given rulers and setsquares.


Golden Ratio


Avelinda said...

Hello Bill,
It's been some time since we last communicated but I often stop by your blog especially when I am doing research which was the case recently while trying to find more information on Henry Pigott and GloryII. You had also had trouble finding info on him so I thought I would pass on an article I came across. It was in the issue 14 of Nov. 1986 JRA newsletter which was not available online at the time of your interest. the link is: and the text some way down the news letter. Hope you find it interesting. I am now residing in St. Augustine Fl. a few min. walk to the boat moored in Salt Run and 15 min to the open sea. I'm also preparing a Seafarer 23 Challenger for the 2018 Jester challenge,would be nice to make the Azores challenge in 16 but probably won't make that one but who knows. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods and am still looking forward to meeting you in person when I get to England. All the best to you

William Serjeant said...

Hello Glen, It’s good to hear from you. Thank you for the link to the Henry Pigott article.

The JRA newsletter account of his circumnavigation provides valuable information for the would-be solo sailor wanting to do likewise. He had his fair share of near misses and mishaps. He was no sailing purist, being quite happy to motor hundreds of miles when there was no wind to maintain a schedule so as to be in the right place at the right time. Avoiding bad weather and making use of seasonal winds is essential for safe passage.

I like the look of the Seafarer 23 Challenger. I’ve never seen one in UK waters.

Yes, it would be good to meet. Please keep in touch. I wish you all the best for your forthcoming challenges.