The Golden Mean

Many artists and architects have used the Golden Mean and/or Fibonacci numbers as the mathematical basis for their work. As students learn about golden rectangles, triangles and ellipses, they see examples of some of the ways in which the Golden Mean was used by the Romans. They also discover the pattern in the Fibonacci sequence, the relationships between Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Mean, and examples of how both are found in nature. Finally, they create collages and rubbings derived from various golden geometric shapes.

Mathematical Concepts  

  • Golden rectangles, triangles, and ellipses; isosceles triangles
  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals
  • Number sequences; patterns in sequences of numbers
  • Proportions
  • Measurements

ColiseumThe ancient Greeks knew how to use perspective in art, but for over a thousand years the achievements of their society were forgotten and neglected.  Beginning in the early 1400s, people became very interested in the culture, art and architecture of the Greeks and Romans. With this resurgence of interest in Classical times came renewed attention to the Golden Mean, including a book on the subject by Leonardo DaVinci. Artists from Rembrandt to Mondrian have used “golden” proportions in their work.