Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo used the Golden Ratio to improve his art when painting ‘The Creation of Adam’ on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, according to a new study.
The Golden Ratio of 1.6 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.
Leonardo Da Vinci has long been associated with the Golden Ratio. This association was reinforced in popular culture in 2003 by Dan Brown’s best selling book ‘The Da Vinci Code.’
The new study suggests that the beauty and harmony found in the works of Michelangelo may not be based solely on his anatomical knowledge, according to researchers from the Portuguese Health Sciences Federal University of Porto Alegre in Brazil.
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, researchers suggest.
The researchers used Image Pro Plus Software to measure the distances between major parts of ‘The Creation of Adam’.
They found that the gap between the fingers of God and Adam takes place exactly when there is a divide between the Golden Ratio.
The study also found that the fingers of God and Adam are aligned with the other images on the Chapel’s ceiling in accordance with the Golden Ratio.
“We believe that in all probability, Michelangelo knew that anatomical structures incorporating the Golden Ratio offer greater structural efficiency and, therefore, used the Golden Ratio to enhance the aesthetic quality of his works,” researchers said.
The study was published in the journal Clinical Anatomy.