Often people say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what about those who think we can measure it? They claim that it can be calculated by the Golden Ratio – an ancient mathematical equation.
Thousands of years ago, artists and architects used the Golden Ratio to plan their masterpieces, and it is still being promoted today in art, architecture, photography and plastic surgery for its supposed visual beauty. While it may be a crucial tool to develop symmetrical structures, some scientists argue that it can’t be used as a measurement to determine beauty.
How does the Golden Ratio work?
The Golden Ratio is a mathematical symmetry algorithm that underlies our perception of attractiveness. It’s also found in many places throughout nature, including seashells, the Taj Mahal, DNA molecules and even human faces.
Why are there numbers that define beauty?
We all have a natural tendency to like faces that are more pleasing to the eye, and research shows this preference is robust across age, gender and ethnicity. We even have an innate ability to recognise beauty in others within a tenth of a second.
But, is it really possible to determine a number that universally defines beauty? The answer to this question is a resounding yes, but only if you know exactly what it is.
1. The Golden Ratio
One of the first examples of the Golden Ratio in art and architecture came from Pacioli’s book De Architectura published around 1550. Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian Renaissance polymath, later illustrated it in his paintings.
2. The Golden Ratio is a geometric pattern that appears to follow a natural pattern in the faces of the most beautiful and attractive people.
3. The Golden Ratio is a formula that can be mathematically calculated to give you the number of a person’s face that is considered beautiful (ph).
4. The Marquardt Beauty Mask
Another theory behind the Golden Ratio is that it creates an idealised version of a face by calculating the proportions. For example, the face of a perfect woman would have a mouth that is ph times wider than the nose and a chin that is ph times longer than the forehead.
5. A template that a cosmetic surgeon can use to calculate the Golden Ratio for a face
While Dr Stephen R. Marquardt has a template for creating the Golden Ratio that he calls the ‘Marquardt Beauty Mask’, it’s not a standard for facial beauty. But, it is a good way to get an idea of how a face fits the proportions.