Those of you who are not math fans, hang in there, because this is really cool. For some, the orderliness of the universe is a compelling argument for the existence of a creative God. Botanists, historians, physicists and theologians alike have long been in awe of the complexity of the universe, yet there is also a simplicity of design that holds true across creation.
Take for example the golden mean, also called the divine proportion in recognition of the divine Creator who set it in motion. It is really quite simple: The largest part is to the whole in the same proportion that the smaller part is to the larger part. It can be proven with numbers, and is evident throughout nature. It is imitated in art and architecture, and even in poetry and music. Every part has a relationship to the whole. The design of our bodies, the spiral of a seashell, and the core of an apple all follow the formula for this ratio.
And, it doesn’t stop there. Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician who discovered number patterns in nature. For example, if you look closely at a sunflower, you notice that the seeds occur in spirals. There are 34 spirals that spin counterclockwise and 55 that spin clockwise, larger heads have 55 and 89 spirals. It turns out that these numbers follow a pattern. Each of the Fibonacci numbers is formed by adding the two numbers just before it. The ratio between the successive numbers approaches the Divine Proportion!
Look at your own artwork, or the art you enjoy. Can you see the imitation of the same mathematical principles that God used in His creative projects? When you create, are you conscious of the use of math, or like me, is it an instinctive feel for what “looks right”?
Sources of information:
Hemenway, Priya. Divine Proportion. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 2005.
Knott, Ron. “Fibonacci Numbers and Nature.” 123 JUNE 2007 7. 01 DEC 2007
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