Poussin and the √ϕ: Part II

…The order signifies the interval between the parts; the mode relates to the quantity, the form consists of lines and colors. The order is not enough, neither is the interval between the parts; nor does it suffice for all of the parts of the body to have their natural place, if they are not joined by the mode, which gives each part the grandeur that it is due, in proportion with the body, and if they are not in competition with the type, in such a way that the lines are formed with grace, and neighbor one another in a suave accord between light and shade…

-Nicolas Poussin

As noted in the previous post, Nicolas Poussin finished painting ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ in 1636. The aspect ratio of the painting is 1:1.261* which makes it very close to a ϕ Rectangle with an aspect ratio of 1:1.272.

This is the painting with a Primary Diagonal and its Reciprocals. Plate 1


Plate 1

Can you see the structure of the painting when both diagonals and their reciprocals are added along with the centerlines? Notice the location of the hands between the three women. Plate 2


Plate 2

Plate 3 shows the horizontal and vertical subdivisions from the intersections of the primary diagonals and reciprocals. Do you see any alignments?


Plate 3

Take a look at the child in the lower left. The angle of the flute (in yellow) follows a sign between two of the subdivisions which is also parallel to the Primary Diagonal (sinister). Plate 4


Plate 4

Also note the location of the Vanishing Point for the perspective of the wall coping (in purple). Plate 5


Plate 5

…And from all of this, it appears quite plainly that beauty is far from the material of the body, to which it never comes close unless placed there by immaterial preparations. And thus we can conclude that painting is none other than an idea of immaterial things and that if it shows the body, it merely represents the order, and the mode according to which things are composed, and that it is more attentive to the idea of beauty than to any other.

-Nicolas Poussin


* Note: With an aspect ratio of 1:1.261 the painting is not a pure √ϕ Rectangle which has an aspect ratio of 1:1.272… The difference is .3” or .762 cm over a dimension of 3’ 4.4” which is close enough given all the alignments found in the painting.

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