How do you create an artistic composition that is pleasing to the eye? Many artists use a mathematical concept called the golden ratio, (also known as the golden mean, golden rectangle and golden section). This is a close relative to another compositional principle called “the rule of thirds.” In today’s exercise, I’ve included two short videos that I’ve found around the Web (each video is approx 3-4 min long). Each video takes a slightly different approach to explaining how the golden mean works, so it will be beneficial for you to watch all three.
I’ve also added links to three paintings: one by Claude Monet and two by Russian artist, Pavel Filonov. After you watch the videos, look at each of the paintings and see if you can figure out how the artist used the golden mean or rule of thirds in his compositions.
First, the videos:
Video #1 – https://youtu.be/piIiR6cqGlY
Video #2 – https://youtu.be/wH32LujS9Yg
After you’ve watched the videos, take a look at the following three paintings and see if you can figure out how (or if) the artists implemented the golden mean or rule of thirds in their compositions:
Painting #2: Pavel Filonov. Landscape. Wind. 1907. Oil on cardboard.
Painting #3: Pavel Filonov. Self-Portrait. 1925
EXTRA EXERCISE: Once you’ve looked at these paintings, check out some other paintings or drawings and see if you can identify whether the artist used the golden ratio. Then try doing a drawing of your own and using the golden ratio as your composition tool.
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