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he presents documents (rather than measurements) to counter the claims that theGolden Sectionwasused by the artists he has studied (for example, Le Corbusier, Seurat, Mondrian, and Juan Gris). Even more problematic, therefore, is the postulate that the Golden Section exists in the natural world, for evidence can only be gleaned from actual measurement. Moreover, the issue is compounded by the ‘idealheal’problem; that is, how can the measurement of an individual entity represent its species?In fact, Bolesand Newman do concede that in nature such measurements are never exact; nevertheless, this caveat does not impede them from ‘finding’ the Golden Section in fish, leaves, nuts, insects and many more specimens of nature. Underlying most of this is the tacit assumption that the Golden Section, as apparently the ancient Greeks believed, actually does have special aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, despite much experimental work on this matter during the past century or so(beginning,I think, with Gustav Feschner’s experiments in the 1870s),there is no solid evidencethat the Golden Section is more aesthetically pleasing than many other forms [3]. A fundamental methodological difficulty entailed in experimental aesthetics is neatly stated in the following anecdote involving the philosopher of aesthetics, Croce: when asked what form of an envelope (that is, lengthlwidth ratio) he preferred, he isalleged to have replied, “It depends upon whether the envelope contains a love letter or a bill” [4]. The majority of material in The Golden Relationship is on pure mathematics. In addition to detailed explanations of the Golden Section and Fibonacci numbers, and their relationship to various geometrical figures (much of which is coveredelsewhere[5])there is material on “Dynamic Rectangles” (or Euclidean series of rectangles) formed by the ratio of unity to the square-root of 2,3,4, and 5, and a chapter on spirals. In essence then the book is a handbook (complete with a spiral binding)for artistswho wish to learn how to apply the Golden Section in their art. The mathematics is clearly explainedat an elementary level;there are even problems and constructions to do in order to familiarize the novice reader with the mathematical concepts. Nevertheless , I cannot resist posing this question: Whywould an artist go through all this work to learn the Golden Section when much time and effort could be saved by merely using 5/8? Who would notice the difference (that is, 0.007)? I. 2. 3. 4. 5. REFERENCESAND NOTES C. Bouleau, The Painter’s Secret Geometry: A Study of Composition in Art (New York: Hacker Art Books, 1980). Forexample,R. [Herz-IFischler, “On the Application of the Golden Ratio in the Visual Arts”, Leonard0 14, No. 1, 31-32 (1981); “The Early Relationship of Le Corbusier to the ‘Golden Number’ ”, Environment and Planning B 6, 95-103 (1979); “Juan Gris, son Milieu et la ‘Nombre#Or’ ”, Canadian Art Review I, 33-36 (1980); “An Examination of Claims concerning Seurat and ‘The Golden Number’ ”, Gazette des BeauxArts 125, 109-112 (1983). See the summary in L. Zusne, Visual Perception o f Form (New York and London: Academic Press, 1970), pp. I seem to recall that Croce said this,but I cannot find the reference. For example, H.E. Huntley, The Divine Proportion: A Study in Mathematical Beauty (New York: Dover, 1970). 399-402. THE PRINCIPLES OF HARMONY AND CONTRAST OF COLORS AND THEIRAPPLICATIONSTOTHEARTS by M.E. Chevreul. Faber Birren, ed. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1469 Morstein Road, West Chester, PA 19380, U.S.A., 1987. 191 pp. Trade $49.50. ISBN: 87 60121. Reviewed by Joy Turner Luke, Box 18, Route 1, Sperryville, VA 22740, U.S.A. Once again the community of people interested in color owe a debt to Faber Birren for making available another of the classics of the literature on color. Birren has not only collected books on color and donated them to Yale University, he has seen that especially important books have been republished. The Faber Birren Collection of Books on Colorformsa specialcollectioninthe Yale Art and Architecture Library. Other works have been added to this outstanding collection and the whole is available on microfilm to scholars. Birren, a painter himself, has been the author of more than 25 books and some 260 articles...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 95-96
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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