19/11/15

**Research Point: The Golden Mean**

*Research the Golden Mean (also known as the Golden Ratio or Golden Section) and its application to artistic composition. Don’t get bogged down in the maths of this. Essentially the Golden Mean is a proportion in which a straight line or rectangle is divided into two unequal parts in such a way that the ratio of the smaller to the greater part is the same as the ratio of the greater part to the whole.*

Creating the Golden Ratio video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eTw5lKKzmk#

(Apologies for the music and advert – that’s YouTube for you!)

Examples of the Golden Mean may be found regularly in nature:

Inside a shell showing how the Golden Mean may be seen in nature

*Find out also about the rule of thirds in landscape. Renaissance artists realised that placing the main subject in the centre of a composition often led to unsatisfactory results. It’s possible to get a more balanced composition by splitting the canvas into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and placing the main subject on one of these lines or at the intersection point of any two lines…*

An illustration showing the rule of thirds in a landscape composition

..*. Another way of thinking about this is to plan your landscape in terms of foreground, middle ground and background.*

*Look on the internet and find some examples of landscape paintings that exemplify these compositional principles.*

Landscape by Dorrit Black an example of the Golden Mean

Landscape by Constable illustrating use of the Golden Mean

The Great Wave off Kanagawa Golden mean in landscape paintings

Marsh with Farm by Emil Nolde Rule of Thirds

Landscape by Thomas Cole Rule of Thirds

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You always find unusual examples of paintings for your research projects – not the obvious ones – makes your articles v interesting to read!

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