New research provides mathematical evidence that Michelangelo used the Golden Ratio of 1.6 when painting The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Golden Ratio is found when you divide a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is equal to the whole length divided by the longer part.
The Golden Ratio has been linked with greater structural efficiency and has puzzled scientists for centuries due to its frequent occurrence in nature—for example in snail shells and flower petals. The Golden Ratio can also be found in a variety of works by architects and designers, in famous musical compositions, and in the creations of many artists.
The findings suggest that the beauty and harmony found in the works of Michelangelo may not be based solely on his anatomical knowledge. He likely knew that anatomical structures incorporating the Golden Ratio offer greater structural efficiency and, therefore, he used it to enhance the aesthetic quality of his works.
"We believe that this discovery will bring a new dimension to the great work of Michelangelo," said Dr. Deivis de Campos, author of the Clinical Anatomy study.
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De Campos, D., Malysz, T., Bonatto-Costa, J. A., Pereira Jotz, G., Pinto De Oliveira Junior, L. and Oxley da Rocha, A. (2015), More than a neuroanatomical representation in The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti, a representation of the Golden Ratio. Clin. Anat.. DOI: 10.1002/ca.22580