You wouldn’t quite believe the vast amount of things mathematics relates to, we constantly hear people say, ‘you need math in everyday life’, however the concepts that spring to mind are money, percentages, date and time and so on.
But if I was to tell you artists use mathematics, what would you say to that?
I know for a fact that before one of our Discovering Math inputs I would have argued that this statement was false. However, knowing what I know now, I can agree that mathematics really is involved in nearly everything we do.
During this particular input, we focused on the way our own faces are proportioned and would you believe it, our face is wholly based on mathematical formulae. Without these mathematical measurements our face would not be split up equally.
Johnathon helped us unpick the different levels and stages portrait artists go through in order to assemble a correct and accurately proportioned drawing of a face. I wouldn’t say I am a particularly creative person and art has never been one of my strong points, so this has never really crossed my mind. I had heard that our eyes are positioned half way down our face but that was about the only ratio I was aware of. As I continued to draw I was more amazed as each ratio and measurement was revealed, who knew so much mathematics was involved in such art and artistry.
The first task we were asked to carry out involved us doing a freehand drawing of a face. This brought on a few giggles from those in the class as art was maybe not everyone’s strong point. A small sense of that dreaded ‘art anxiety’, however we carried on with the task wondering when the math part would join us. We were asked to look around the room and examine one another’s free hand drawings and that was when it became clear to us that none of these drawings were proportional. Johnathon then attempted to get us to try and find some common measurements with our own faces. We determined that, our eyes are half way down our head, the width of our face is about five eyes wide and the bottom of our nose is halfway between our eyes and the bottom of our chin.
Nowadays through the use of social media we are bombarded with ‘beautiful’ / ‘perfect’ people all the time. We all aspire to look like the celebrity’s we follow as we see them all over our screens and magazines. We feel these people have beauty and there is a pressure within our society to look our best all the time. But what are we really judging ourselves on, are we judging ourselves through mathematical concepts?
The ‘perfect’ face is based upon the ‘golden ratio’. Obviously not every face is perfectly proportioned, and this is where discussion is invoked. It can be said that the way we see beauty is based upon a mathematical scale, a more proportioned face is often seen to us as a more attractive person (Meisner, 2012).
So, when we are asked to focus on our face carefully we notice some basic measurements and without these standard measurements our face would have no structure. But do we look deeply into this? Probably not. Let’s break some of this down and see for ourselves what true beauty looks like using mathematics.
- The pupils should be in line with the outer corners of your lips
- The tops of the ears should be in line with the centre of your eyes with the bottom of the ears being in line with the bottom of your nose
- The outer edge of each nostril to be in line with the inner corner of each eye
- The middle of your chin should be in line with middle of the upper lip
- The tops of the ears to be in line with the centre of your eyes with the bottom of the ears being in line with the bottom of your nose
Dr Stephen Marquardt was the man who revealed that our faces can be split up into different segments and managed to determine the different measurements that are involved in giving us the most attractive face (Meisner, 2014).
This can be furthered studied when looking into the work of plastic surgeons. Surgeon De Silva focuses upon the use of the golden ratio and measures beauty by this. He takes the mathematical formula and calculates the precise measurements for his clients faces in line with the formula in an attempt to give them the ‘best’ outcome (Letzter, 2016). This is echoed by Hardy (2016) who also argues that these mathematical concepts are a good indication for plastic surgery. As we age or put on/lose weight the dimensions of our faces change again, our eyes may begin to droop, wrinkles may appear and therefore plastic surgeons arrange many thorough consultations and use these mathematical formulae to try and determine the best look for their patients.
“Our perception of beauty is based on the ratio proportions of 1.618. As the face comes closer to this ratio, it becomes perceptibly more beautiful” (Dr Maryam Zamani, citied in Hardy, 2016). This helps detail the significance of the golden rule, it gives us our sense of beauty as we see it.
From looking at our own drawings in the lecture it was clear to see that the majority of us had improved from our first free hand portrait to our attempt when considering the mathematical dimensions and proportions. Without mathematics these scales could not be implied, and the understanding of the scale and proportion would not be achieved. By focusing on the groupings of the face and relating it to the cosmetic world it is clear to see that beauty, art and mathematics can be interlinked.
Hardly, L. (2016) The precise formula for a beautiful face. Available at: https://www.raconteur.net/healthcare/the-precise-formula-for-a-beautiful-face(Accessed: 31 October 2018).
Letzter, R. (2016) A plastic surgeon used a golden mathematical ratio to ‘prove’ this is the most beautiful person in the world. Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-golden-ratio-really-has-nothing-to-do-with-beauty-2016-7?r=US&IR=T(Accessed: 31 October 2018).
Meisner, G. (2014) Facial Analysis and the Marquardt Beauty Mask. Available at: https://www.goldennumber.net/beauty/(Accessed: 31 October 2018).
Meisner, G. (2012) The Human Face and the Golden Ratio. Available at: https://www.goldennumber.net/face/(Accessed: 31 October 2018).