Math = Beauty?

It has become increasingly apparent to me that math is the universal language. I always thought that statement meant that it reaches across borders and allows us to find common ground with those whose cultures are unfamiliar to us. But as I've taken a closer look, the elements of math are found everywhere, and most interesting to me, math is quite prevalent in art. If you haven’t heard of the golden rectangle, it is a perfect example of how math and beauty are related. The idea behind the golden rectangle is that if you subtract a square from the rectangle you are left with another golden rectangle, leaving you with an infinite spiral. Research has shown that our brain can more easily scan images when they have the proportions of the golden rectangle, which is why they are more ascetically pleasing to us.

My friend, Cat, has always gone on and on about fractals and how prevalent and awesome they are. The simplest definition of a fractal that I have found is that they are a visual expression of a repeating pattern or formula that starts out simple and gets progressively more complex. Natural fractals can be found everywhere and a certain fractal density can be more appealing to us. Jackson Pollack implemented the ideal fractal density in his paintings, which is why they are so visually appealing to us. Examples of artists and designers implementing the golden ratio are everywhere: the Parthenon, the Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa. It’s easy to use the golden ratio in your own life as well. If you follow the proportions of 1:1:6 you will approximately have the golden rectangle. You can use this ratio in web design, composing photography shots, hanging artwork on your walls, arranging/ decorating your house, etc. To quote one of my favorite artists, Modest Mouse, “The universe works on a math equation/ that never even ever really even ends in the end / Infinity spirals out creation.”

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