Matila Ghyka
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
DOVER PUBLICATIONS, NEW YORK
INC.
This Dover edition, first published in 1977, is a slightly corrected republication of the work first published by Sheed and Ward, New York, in 1946.
International Standard Pook Number: 0486235424 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 7778586
Manufactured in the United States of America Dover Publications, Inc. 180 Varick Street New York, N.Y. 10014
TO
RODERICK O'CONOR. R.E.
Plate XXXVIII.Acknowledgments
MOSTOFTHE PLATES this book are reproduced from L'Estkein tique des Proportions dans la Nature et dans les Arts. E. from The Diagonal. LXX. by D. Bibliographisehes Institut. Many have been drawn especially for this book. Berlin.
. Plate LXXVIII. The remaining plates are from the following sources: Plate XXXIII. by courtesy of the publishers. Paris. Yale University Press. Plates LI and LII. Gallimard. Plates LXIX. and Essai sur le Rhythme. Yale University Press. Plate XXXIV. LV. Plate XXXV. Caskey. The Geometry of the Greek Vase. LIV. Alinari. Wasmuth. The Medici Society. LXXII. Cres. Le N ombre d'Or. Plates LXVIII. G. Wendingen. Morance. Leipzig. Plates LIII. Paris.
.
In the same way Plato's Aesthetics. as a "symphonic" composition. A great factor in Plato's Mathematical Philosophyand. as length and numbers of vibrations are inversely proportional). were also bodily taken from the Pythagorean doctrine. in a subsidiary manner. let us say. not by the frequencies of the tones (but the result is the same. that is. systems of proportions." (. his conception of Beauty.) as arranging the Cosmos harmoniously according to the preexisting. This technique of correlated proportions was in fact transposed from the Pythagorean conception of musical harmony: the intervals between notes being measured by the lengths of the strings of the lyra. Western) Thought and Art. In the same way that Plato conceived the "Great Ordering One" (or "the One ordering with Art. especially Architecture. frc6. archetypes or ideas.Introduction
And it was then that all these kinds of things thus established received their shapes from the Ordering One. 'tcXVlt1j. so the Platonicor rather. the role of Numbers therein. neoPlatonicview of Art conceived the Artist as planning his work of Art according to a preexisting system of proportions. Timaeus)
IT IS NOTgenerally suspected how much the above pronouncement of Platoor in a more general way. and then developed by Plato and his School. his conception of Aestheticshas influenced European (or. paradigms. evolved out of Harmony and Rhythm. through the action of Ideas and Numbers. ruled by a "dynamic symmetry" corresponding in space to musical eurhythmy in time. (Plato. eternal. in his
ix
. and the final correlation between Beauty and Love. so that the chords produce comparisons or combinations of ratios.
and in Vitruvius. The name of the geometrical proportion (~ =
a)
was in
Greek. We cannot do better than to give the definition of Vitruvius: "Symmetry resides in the correlation by measurement between the various elements of the plan. . . with the study. . . Let us point out at once that "symmetry" as defined by Greek and Roman architects as well as the Gothic Master Builders. from Leonardo to Palladio. analogia. of the same proportions. . and between each of these elements and the whole. When every important part of the building is thus conveniently set in proportion by the right correlation between height and width. and when all these parts have also their place in the total symmetry of the building. it proceeds from proportionthe proportion which the Greeks called analogia(it achieves) consonance between every part and the whole. the standard of common measure (belonging to the work considered).x
INTRODUCTION
system of Aestheticswas the importance given to the five regular bodies and the interplay of proportions which they reveal. between width and depth. . and the application to artistic composition.. As in the human body . the Renaissance coined the suggestive words "commodulotio" and "concinmitas? The mention of eurhythmy as a result of wellapplied "symmetry" underlines the affinity between this correct (also etymologically sound) interpretation of symmetry (as opposed to the modern. we shall see this point of view transmitted all through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and beyond. which the Greeks called the number . harmoniously ordered or rhythmically repeated proportions or "analogies" introduced "symmetry" and analogical recurrences in all consciously composed plans. . This symmetry is regulated by the modulus.. and by the architects and painters of the Renaissance. static meaning usually applied to the
." For this notion of symmetry seen as correlating through the interplay of proportions the elements of the parts and of the whole. . we obtain eurhythmy.. is quite different from our modern term symmetry (identical disposition on either side of an axis or plane "of symmetry").
) . show those same themes of proportion which in Art seem to have been used by Greek and Gothic architects. it was found that certain morphological intuitions of the Pythagorean and Platonist schools. and Growth and Form. an old but correct definition of rhythm was: "Rhythm is in time what symmetry is in space. are confirmed by modern research. in the field of biology too." by Kepler "one of the two Jewels of Geometry." This classical meaning of the word "symmetry" has been. The use of Geometry in the study and classification of crystals is obvious. and "Number is Knowledge itself" (Id. Lectures on the Principles of Symmetry. 2 Leonardo and Durer had no doubts about this point. The Pythagorean creed that "Everything is arranged according to Number" (taken up by Plato) 1 is justified not only in Art (it was a Gothic Master Builder who in 1398 said. but it is only lately that its
role in the study of Life and Living Growth has begun to be recognized. we will meet later on the expression "dynamic symmetry" found in Plato's Theaetetus. by Professor D'Arcy Thompson. discovered in living forms and living growth. themes of symmetry."
Curiously enough. the patterns." appears to be the principal "invariant" (to use an expression popular in
1 "Numbers are the highest degree of Knowledge" (Epinomis). brought into light again within the last thirty years. spirals. the ratio or proportion called by Leonardo's friend Luca Pacioli "the Divine Proportion. and their interpretation by the NeePlatonist thinkers and artists of the Renaissance.INTRODUCTION
xi
word) and rhythm. as suggestive by its plates and diagrams as by its text. by Sir Theodore Cook (the illustrative material in itself gives the reader complete aesthetic satisfaction). and will henceforth be used in this work. "Ars Sine Scientia Nihil") but also in the realm of Nature." and commonly known as "The Golden Section. The most important books published in England concerning the Geometry of Life are: The Curves of Life. a masterly treatise. It is also quite recently that. and examine the special "eurhythmical" planning system covered by this term. paramount amongst them. lately reprinted by the Cambridge University Press. and. with the technique itself. by Professor Jaeger.
.
xii
INTRODUCTION
modern Mathema. as remarkable by its algebraical and geometrical properties as by this role in Biology and in Aesthetics. There are then such things as "The Mathematics of Life" and "The Mathematics of Art."
.tical Physics). The present work tries to present in a condensed form what we may call a "Geometry of Art and Life." and the two coincide.
The ell Rectangle. The ten types of proportion. and Golden Section. The Fibonacci Series and the Golden Section. Regular hypersolids in the fourth dimension. Other remarkable volumes. Rectangles: the (l) Rectangle and the V (l) Rectangle. and Ockham's principle of economy. Pentagon. The Great Pyramid. The thirteen semiregular Archimedian bodies.
CHAPTER GEOMETRICAL SHAPES
III 20
ON THE PLANE
Polygons. and the human body. "Sublime" Triangle.
CHAPTER THE GOLDEN SECTION
II
7
Algebraical and geometrical properties of the Golden Section or Number (l). Proportion. the icosahedron and the Golden Section. geometrical and harmonic proportion. symmetry. Phyllotaxis and "Ideal Angle" in botany. The Golden Section and pentagonal symmetry. eurhythmy. Arithmetical. Rhythm in space and proportion in time.
xiii
.
CHAPTER GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
IV 40
The five regular polyhedra or Platonic bodies. decagon. Remarkable triangles: Triangle of Pythagoras. Generalisation of the concept of proportion. Regular polygons and starpolygons. Regular prisms and antiprisms. The two continuous stardodecahedra of Kepler. stardodecahedron. The dodecahedron. pentagram. The simplest asymmetrical division of a measurable whole into two parts. The "Chamber of the King" in the Great Pyramid. Hexagon and octagon. Triangle of Price.Contents
CHAPTER PROPORTION IN SPACE AND TIME I
PAGE
1
Ratio and proportion.
The Pythagorean tradition.XIV
CONTENTS CHAPTER V
PAGE
THE REGULAR SPACE
PARTITIONS
ON THE PLANE
AND IN
71
Equipartitions and partitions of the plane. Gothic master plans. Masonic traditions and symbols. Pentagonal symmetry in living organisms. Equipartitions and partitions of space. The cuboctahedron and the closepacking of spheres. painting. Proportion and dynamic symmetry.
CHAPTER SYMPHONIC COMPOSITION
IX 155
Periodic rediscovery of the Golden Section. Hexagonal and cubic symmetries. Flowers and shells.
CHAPTER
VIII 124
GREEK AND GOTHIC CANONS OF PROPORTION
Rediscovery of the Greek and Gothic canons of architecture. NeoPythagorism and Kabbala. and decorative art. Symphonic composition. Modern applications of dynamic symmetry in architecture.
CHAPTER THE TRANSMISSION PLANS
VII SYMBOLS AND 111
OF GEOMETRICAL
Life and Legend of Pythagoras. Seurat's divisionism. decad and tetraktys. Pythagorean numbermystic. The principle of least action. <P Spiral and Golden Section.
. most general law for inorganic systems. Greek vases. and the human body.
CHAPTER THE GEOMETRY OF LIFE
VI
87
Harmonious growth and logarithmic spiral. From the antique builders' guilds to the masons' guilds of the Middle Ages. Pentagon. Crystal lattices. regular and semiregular. Revival of Pythagorean doctrine in science and art. The dynamic rectangles of Hambidge and the directing circles of Moessel. The human body and the <ll Progression. Masons' marks and fundamental design. the pentagram. Greek temples.
XXVI. XIX. XXV. XII. XI. the Great Pyramid. XXII. Pentagram. XXVII. Decagon and StarDecagon The Five Regular Solids The Five Regular Solids Inscribed Within Each Other StarDodecahedron with Twenty Vertices StarDodecahedron with Twelve Vertices Model of StarDodecahedron with Twenty Vertices Model of StarDodecahedron with Twelve Vertices Cuboctahedron and Byzantine Cupolas StarPolyhedra after Leonardo The King's Chamber. XIV. IV. XXIV. PAGE
I. and the Icosahedron The King's Chamber. XIII. XVIII. XVI.
The Triangle of the Pentagon The Triangle of the Pentagon The Triangle of the Pentagon (Harmonie Composition) The y(J) Rectangle Construction of the Pentagon of Given Sides (Pentagon and Pentagram) Variations on the Pentagon Interplay of Proportions Between Pentagon. XXIII. IX. XXVIII. and the Icosahedron Plane Projections of Three Hypersolids Regular Equipartitions of the Plane Two Regular Partitions of the Plane Three Regular Partitions of the Plane Two Regular Partitions of the Plane Regular Partition of the Plane SemiRegular Partition of the Plane SemiRegular Partition of the Plane SemiRegular Partition of the Plane SemiRegular Partition of the Plane Isotropic Partition of Space by Four Sets of Planes
xv
25 26 27 31 32 33 34 42 43 46 47 48 49 55 58 64 65 70 76 76 77 77 78 78 79 79 80 80
. VI.List of Plates
PLATE NO. V. II. XVII. the Great Pyramid. VII. XX. X. III. XXI. XV. VIII.
XXXVII. LXI. XXXII.5 137
138
139 144 145
146
147 148 150
. XXX. L. XLII. Harmonic Decompositions Greek Vase (Starnnos}. LI. LV. Harmonic Analysis (Wiener) San Stefano Rotondo. Harmonic Analysis The Square. Logarithmic Spiral and Gnomonic Growth Miss Helen Wills. Harmonic Analysis (Wiener) Diagrams for Plates LXII and LXIII
81 95 96 96 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 109 110
121 122
123 128
129
130
131
132 133 133
134
135 13. XXXV. LVII. XXXVI. LVI. XLIX. LVIII. LXIII. Harmonic Decompositions in the ID Theme The Parthenon. XXXIV. LIV. LXII. Harmonic Analysis Greek Ritual Pan.
LIST OF PLATES
PAGE
XXIX.xvi
PLATE NO. XXXVIII. XLVI. XLIV. XLI. LX. LII. LIX. with Diagram Harmonic Analysis of Horse in Profile The Gothic Master Diagram Mason's Marks Gothic Mason's Marks Static and Dynamic Rectangles The V2 Rectangle. Harmonic Analysis Greek Vase (Kylix). XL. LIII. XLVIII. Harmonic Analysis (Wiener) Pantheon of Rome. XXXIII. Harmonic Analysis Athlete's Body. Harmonic Analysis (Hambidge) Tomb of Rameses IV. Harmonic Decompositions The IDRectangle. Harmonic Decompositions The V3 Rectangle. Harmonic Analysis Greek Bronze Mirror. XLVII. Harmonic Decompositions The V 5 Rectangle. Harmonic Analysis Greek Vase (Kantharos). XLIII. Harmonic Analysis Diagram of Preceding Analysis (IDTheme) Male Body in V5 Theme. LXIV. Diagram of Proportions in Face Isabella d'Este. Harmonic Analysis Two Gothic Standard Plans (Moessel) Egyptian Temple PlanRock Tomb at Mira (Moessel) Temple of Minerva Medica. XXXI. XLV. XXXIX.
Cuboctahedron and Close Packing of Spheres Logarithmic Spiral and ShellGrowth Pentagonal SymmetrySpiral of Harmonious Growth PseudoSpiral of Fibonaccian Growth Pentagonal Symmetry in Flowers Pentagonal Symmetry in Marine Animals Shell. Harmonic Analysis Miss Helen Wills.
LXXI. LXXVI. LXVI. LXXII.. Lagoon of Venice Statue of Descartes (Puiforcat) Regulating Diagram of Cup (Puiforcat) Lilies (Wiener) Diagram for Lilies (Wiener) The <{l Rectangle (Wiener) Plan for Mundaneum (Le Corbusier and Jeanneret) Facade in <{l Proportion by a Pupil of Hauptli Diagram of Facade of Tiffany & Co. LXIX. Harmonic Division Le Cirque (Seurat). LXXVIII.
xvii
PAGE
LXV.
Dome of Milan. LXVIII. LXXX. LXVII. LXXIX.LIST OF PLATES
PLATE NO. LXXVII. Paris (Southwick)
151 152 157 158 158 159 160 160 162 163 164 165 166 169 170 171
. 1521) Harmonic Analysis of a Renaissance Painting (FunckHellet) Cubist Studies (Durer and Schon) Le Pont de Courbevoie (Seurat). LXXIII. LXXV. LXXIV. Elevation and Section (Caesar Caesariano. Harmonic Division Diagrams for Three Preceding Plates (Seurat) Guardi. Harmonic Division Parade (Seurat). LXX.
.
1 This
ment consists of: (1) perceiving a functional relation or a hierarchy of values between two or several objects of knowledge. When this comparison produces a definite measuring.CHAPTER
I
Proportion in Space and Time
THE NOTION of proportion is.which has not only the appearance but all the properties of a fraction. qualitative or quantitative. "Commodulatio. which comes logically before it. If we are dealing with segments of straight lines.
RATIO
The mental operation 1 producing "ratio" is the quantitative comparison between two things or aggregates belonging to the same kind or species. 1
judgment in general. most important. or ~ if a and b are the lengths of these segments measured with the same unit. one of the most elementary. a quantitative "weighing. it is either confused with the notion of ratio. and (2) discerning the relation." and the Renaissance architects. is also the measure of the segment AC = a if CB = b is taken as unit of length. making a comparison of values. a common submultiple. and most difficult to sort out with precision. we have then the more complex concept which the Greeks and Vitruvius called "Symmetria. This ratio ~." Let us start from the definition of ratio. the ratio between two segments AC and CB will be symbolized by ~~. in logic as well as in Aesthetics. of the typical operation performed by intelligence." the result is a ratio. or (especially when talking of proportions in the plural) with the notion of a chain of characteristic ratios linked together by a modulus. Judg
comparison of which a ratio is the result is a particular case of
.
b. d. a relation between the different magnitudes and their d measures. 
c'
b = fie is called the proportional or geometrical mean between a and c. and the two magnitudes C end D on the other. B. the equality
E = a. called discontinuous in the general case when a. we have between these measurements. these numbers. c. are different. If A. d. between the two "magnitudes"
(com
parable objects or quantities) A and B on one side." If we have established two ratios ~. B.2
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
GEOMETRICAL PROPORTION
The notion of proportion follows immediately that of ratio. C. D are segments of straight lines measured by the lengths a. the equality~ = ~ (A is to B as C is to D) means that the four magnitudes A. and continuous geometrical proportion if two of these numbers are identical. which is transmitted from one ratio to the other. To quote Euclid: "Proportion is the equality of two ratios. C. ace h abc d b = d = I = g' et cetera. The equation of proportion can have any number of terms. b. c. D are connected by a proportion. we have always the permanency of a characteristic ratio (this explains why the notions of ratio and proportion are often confused. It is the geometrical proportion. or b = c = d = e' etcetera. discontinuous or continuous. which is generally used or mentioned in Aesthetics. but the concept of proportion introduces besides the simple comparison or measurement the idea of a new permanent quality. The typical continuous
. specially in architecture. a proportion IS t here f ore b = b or b" = ac.
g. . et eetc e
. this is the geo
metrical proportion.) Th e secon d seri 0 f equa 1·· b= series ities abc = d=. it is this analogical invariant which besides the measurement brings an ordering principle.
. and making c = a + b.PROPORTION IN SPACE AND TIME
3
era.
a
2
If one makes ~ = x. .
1
such is the case of the continuous proportion
B =~.The Greeks had already noticed that three terms at least are necessary in order to express a proportion. AB. positive root of the equation x = x +1. Such is the nature of proportion . is equal to 1 +2 y'5 (the other.. 32. c. 8. one sees that x. like 1. So that (if for example a and b are the two segments of a straight line of length c) the continuous proportion
(~) 2
becomes:
~ = a!
b or
= (~) + 1. . 16. and the
POSSI
'bl'e ratios:
asymmetrical ones and b c a=b (b
6 = i(a = AC being the longest of the two segments of AB)
= x+
1 and the two roots 1 +2 y' 5
=
CB being the longest segment) which leads again to the and
equation of the Golden Section x2 1. Plato. . Timaeus: "But it is impossible to combine satisfactorily two things without a third one: we must have between them a correlating link . b' . measured in any system of
. units. 2.
But
we can try to obtain a greater simplification by reducing to two the number of the terms. The Golden Section.2
This is the ratio known as "Golden Section". b. 4.y'5 2
. represents the characteristic continuous proportion. . b .. bi t h en t h e simeaca plest possible proportions are obtained by applying here also "Ockham's Razor" and writing that any two of these ratios are equal i the fifteen possible combinations are reduced to the symmetrical division a = b. The simplest asymmetrical section and the corresponding continuous proportion: The Golden Section. root being 1 2 y' 5
). CB. geometrical progression or series. et cetera.
1 Cf. " 2 There is another way of finding the Golden Section as the most logical asymmetrical division of a line AB into two segments AC and CBi if we call a. the respective lengths of AC. we get 6· different
aah cc . negative.
3) and (2) the harmonic proportion. There are in all ten terms of proportions. the sum of which equals the segment c) it determines between the whole and its two parts a proportion such that "the ratio between the greater and the smaller part is equal to the ratio between the whole and the greater part. Luca Pacioli.a
c
c
Example (1. the most remarkable algebraical properties.5. which is "a combination or relation between two or several ratios.3.. as we will see in the next chapter.a = (c .6) . are: (1) The arithmetic proportion in which the middle term (if we take the minimum of three terms for a proportion) overlaps the first term by a quantity equal to that by which it is itself overlapped cb by the last term. b.b c b." The more usual proportions.b) ~ equivalent to bC. or (if a..2. in which the middle term overlaps the first one by a fraction of the latter equal to the fraction of the last term by which the last term overlaps it.
a
c
Example (2. called in the textbooks "division into mean and extreme ratio..2.
. harmonic proportion (3. The Greek geometers of the Platonic school called it ~ TO!1~' "the section" par excellence.
c..a = c." This proportion. 8.2.b c b. are the three terms\ _ a = 1 (example: 1.a = ba. as reported by Proclus (On Euclid)..b = ~(example: c a a 2. besides the geometrical. geometrical proportion
c.3) .4
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
when it exists between the two parts of a whole (here the segments a and b. 6 or 6.b b. arithmetic proportion (1. called it "The Divine Proportion. 12).." has got. Leonardo's friend."
GENERALISATION OF THE CONCEPT OF PROPORTION
The geometrical proportion (resulting from the equality between two or several ratios) is only a particular case of a more general concept. c. 3.4) .6)
=b
cb=. established by the neoPythagorean School. or b .
We have seen in the Introduction that the technique by which.9) b (4. 5.a c. We generally associate the terms of "rhythm" and "eurhythmy" with the Arts working in the time dimension (Poetry and Music) and the notion of Proportion with the "Arts of Space" (Architecture. Painting. 2. And Rhythm and Number were one." Plato (Timaeus) mentions the concordance between the rhythm of the harmoniously balanced soul and the rhythm of the Universe... Fibonacci a series
The tenth corresponds to the additive series 1. of course.6) (6.a ba=a b Example (2.) For them. Architecture was not only "Frozen Music"
1 "Everything is arranged according to Number" was the condensation of the Pythagorean doctrine. 21.7. he even establishes in one of his mathematical puzzles (in the Timaeus again) what he calls the "Number of the WorldSoul. indeed. on his theory of proportions. Decorative Art). 3. And Plato. The Greeks did not care for these distinctions.. who developed Pythagoras' Aesthetics of Number into the Aesthetics of Proportion.8.4.6. and the result obtained where this technique was correctly applied was the "eurhythmy" of the design and of the building. for Plato in particular.5) (1.PROPORTION
ba cb b. . 1.8.8) . 55.9)
IN SPACE AND TIME
c..7)
b'
c
c
b (3." a supereeale of thirtysix notes based. the proportions were linked so as to get the right correlation (or "eommodulation") between the whole and its parts was called by the Greek architects and Vitruvius "Symmetry". Rhythm was a most general concept dominating not only Aesthetics but also Psychology and Metaphysics. it is intimately connected with the Golden Section and plays an eminent role in Botany. in which each term is equal to the sum of the two preceding ones. wrote in his Epinomis: "Numbers are the highest degree of knowledge" and: "Number is knowledge itself.' (Rhythmo8 and Arithmo« had the same root: rhein = to fiow.34.
. for them. We will meet it again in the next chapter. 13.b =
5
=a:
=a:
Example c (6.5.a cb c. in a complex plan or design. et cetera.a cb ca ba=a c.4.
to quote Francis Warrain: "La Musique est an Temps ce que la Geometrie est a l'Bepace"
.
1
Here are three definitions of Rhvthm: (1) Rhythm is a succession of phenomena which are produced at intervals. it is obvious that in space. proportion can play its part. in what follows. we see how even in that temporal frame. that "Rhythm is produced by the dynamic action of Proportion on a uniform (static) beat or recurrence." and how and where their Geometry of Art meets the Geometry of Life. . (Francis Warrain) (2) Rhythm is perceived periodicity. The notions of periodicity and proportion. can be used for succession in time as well as for spatial associations. and one could say. combinations of proportions can bring periodical reappearances of proportions and shapes. so is Music "Drawing in Time. just as in a musical chord or in the successive notes or chords of a melody we may really perceive an interplay of
proportions." 2 But we will. If periodicity (static like a regular beat. leave aside the "numbers" of Music and Poetry in order to elucidate how the Greek and Gothic Master Builders applied their knowledge of proportion and "Symmetry.6
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
(Schelling) but living Music. (Pius Servien) (3) Rhythm is this property of a succession of events which produces on the mind of the observer the impression of a proportion between the duration of the different events or groups of events of which the succession is composed. and rhythm in space. (Professor Sonnenschein) Although the authors of these three distinct but excellent definitions are here thinking of Rhythm in time.' If Architecture
is petrified or frozen Music." 2 Or. and proportion the characteristic of what we may call rhythm or eurhythmy in space. It acts to the extent to which such a periodicity alters in us the habitual flow of time. To sum up: there are proportions in time. to cover both fields. either constant or variable. . . but regulated by a law. or dynamic) is the characteristic of rhythm in time. and their interplay.
CHAPTER
II
The Golden Section
THE "GOLDENSECTION,"the geometrical proportion defined in the preceding chapter, 1 +2\15 = 1.618... positive root of the equation x2 = x + 1, has a certain number of algebraical and geometrical properties which make it the most remarkable algebraical number, in the same way as a (the ratio between any circumference and its diameter) and e = lim remarkable transcendent numbers. If, to follow Sir Theodore Cook's example (in The Curves of Life) we call this number, or ratio, or proportion <1), we have the following equalities: ~ = \15 + 1 = 1.61803398875.... (so that 1.618 is a very 2 accurate approximation) ~ 2.618 .... ~ =0.618 ....
1
2_ _
C +~r
are the most
\15+3 2 \151 2 = ~2
=
~s
e =
~nl
+
+ ~ and + ~t,
~3
more generally
~n2
(this applies also to negative exponents so that:
~ = 1 + ~, or
iIio.2 _ 'J.' iIio.S 'J.' 'J.',
~1
= ~o
~2
+ ;r... or
1_ 1
+
~.'
1
e ce era .
t
t
)
7
8
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
We have also 2 = «p
1 + «p2 and
«p = «p _ 1
1
«P=I+
1
1+1+~11+1
Vl+
1
1+ 1
1+ ...
«P=Vl+
Vi+
Vl+ ...
In the geometrical progression or series 1, «p, ~, «ps, ... , «po..... each term is the sum of the two preceding ones; this property of being at the same time additive and geometrical is characteristic of this series and is one of the reasons for its rOle in the growth of living organisms, specially in botany. . I n t h e di . . h'mg senes imirus 11 11 '«P' «p2' «p3"
••••
1 «pm' we h ave
~m = «p~.l  «p:.2 (each term is the sum of the two following
ones) and:
«p = <I> + «p2 + «p3 + ... + «pm + ..... , when m
1
1
1
1
grows indefinitely. The rigorous geometrical construction of the ratio or proportion of «p is very simple, because of its value 1 +2V 5. Figures 1 and 2 show how, starting from the greater segment AB, to AB construct the smaller segment BC such that BC = «p, and how inversely, starting from the whole segment AC, to place the point B dividing it into the two segments AB and BC related by the golden section ratio (another construction in Figure 3). This most "logical" asymmetrical division of a line, or of a surface, is also the most satisfactory to the eye; this has been tested by
THE GOLDEN SECTION
FIGURE
9 2
c
AC=¢ AS
l
I , I , I I
,,
I
/ ~/B ,/ ., ' , , '
,
/
I,
" "
l,'
~
•
"
G EF
2"
_
A
FIGURE
4
FIGURE
3
~~¢=~~
~~=¢2
I
E
I,
FIGURE
5
, • ._I
Ii I, ,
I'
'.I
A
A'
D
10
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
Fechner (in 1876) for the "golden rectangle," for which the ratio between the longer and the shorter side is <P = 1.618 . In a sort of "Gallup Poll' asking a great number of participants to choose the most (aesthetically) pleasant rectangle.jhis golden rectangle or <P rectangle obtained the great majority of votes. This rectangle (Figure 6) has also the unique property that if we construct a square on its smaller side (the minor term of the cl) ratio), the smaller rectangle aBed formed outside this square in the original rectangle is also a cl) rectangle, similar to the first. This operation can be repeated indefinitely, getting thus smaller and smaller squares, and smaller and smaller golden rectangles 1 (the surfaces of the squares and the surfaces of the rectangles forming geometrical diminishing progressions of ratio
~2)' as in
Figure 7. Even without actually drawing the square, this operation and the continuous proportions characteristic of the series of correlated segments arid surfaces are subconsciously suggested to the eye; the same kind of suggestion operates in the simple case of a straight line divided into two segments according to the golden section, or when three horizontal lines are separated by intervals obeying this proportion (Figure 9; for example, the horizon between the upper and lower bar of the frame in a painted seascape). Professor Timerding sums up this subconscious operation and the resulting aesthetic satisfaction in the short sentence: ".... the reassuring impression given by what remains similar to itself in the diversity of evolution." We shall
1 The simplest method for obtaining a similar rectangle inside a given rectangle is to draw a diagonal of the latter one, and from one of the remaining vertices a perpendicular to the diagonal. In Figure 8 this construction is shown on the cI> rectangle. J. Hambidge, whose theory of "dynamic rectangles" is explained in Chapter VIII, calls the similar smaller rectangle, thus produced in the original one, his "reciprocal rectangle." The other rectangle, formed within the original one, can be called, to borrow Sir D'Arcy Thomson's terminology (inspired itself by the Greek theory of figurate numbers), the gno1lWn of the reciprocal rectanglethe gnomon being the smallest surface which, added to a given surface, produces a similar surface. The <P or golden rectangle is the only rectangle the gnomon of which is a square.
THE GOLDEN SECTION
o
d
C
D
d
..
c e
11
c
E
Aa
A
AB
=Aa =¢ aB
FIGURE
a
6
A8=Dd=cC=¢ Aa de cd B
A
a
B
FIGURE 7
DID
I 1
c~B;_
a
FIGURE
A
8
A8 BCCDAB= BC +CD A
AC=
AB_ BC_¢
FIGURE
9
_,, ,,
 ...... _
,,
,'ABBC +CD ./ BC&CD+DE,etc.
I
, , ,
/ ~~= ~~
=~~.=¢
FIGURE
10
12
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
see in another chapter that this is but a particular case of a very general aesthetic law, the "Principle of Analogy." 1 The principle applies whenever in a design the presence of a characteristic proportion or of a chain of related proportions (this is an imported notion which will be illustrated later on) produces the recurrence of similar shapes, but the subconscious suggestion mentioned above is specially associated with the Golden Section because of the property of any geometrical progression of ratio «>or ~ (like a, a«>,a«>2,a«>3,... a«>n,.. , or a, ;, . . .....
;2'
;3'
, ;n" ... ) of having each term equal to the sum of the two
preceding ones or (respectively) of the two following ones. To this particularity (which combines the properties of additive and multiplicative, geometrical, series) corresponds the geometrical illustration of the progression; that is: a series of straight segments with lengths proportional to the terms of this series can be constructed by additions or subtractions of segments, by simple moves of the compass. On Figure 10 (a diminishing series of segments, with ratio ~, having the unit of measure as first term) we see how out of the first two terms the whole series may be thus obtained; we see also how this progression or continuous proportion combines the most important asymmetrical division or cut with the symmetrical division into two equal parts (AB = BC CD, et cetera). To quote Timerding again: "The golden section therefore imposes itself whenever we want by a new subdivision to make two equal consecutive parts or segments fit into a geometric progression, combining thus the threefold effect of equipartition, succession, continuous proportion; the use of the golden section being only a particular case of a more general rule, the recurrence of the same proportions in the elements of a whole." The Sym
+
1 Figures 4 and 5 show the construction of the Golden Section or <I> ratio on the sides of the doublesquare and of the square (the square is thus divided into two rectangles having <I> and <l>2 as characteristic proportions).
THE GOLDEN SECTION
13
metriaproducing analogia of Vitruvius. It is this property of producing, by simple additions, a succession of numbers in geometrical progression, or of similar shapes (what Sir D' Arcy Thompson called "gnomonic growth") which explains the important role played by the Golden Section and the ~ series in the morphology of life and growth, especially in the human body and in botany. We must here introduce another additive series which is very nearly related to the ~ progression; it is the series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, , in which, starting from 1, each element is (as in the ~ series) equal to the sum of the two preceding ones. The ratio of two consecutive terms tends to approximate very quickly to the "Golden Section" ~ = 1.618..... , by values alternatively greater and smaller than 8 13 21 34 55 ~ ( "5 = 1.6 "8 = 1.625 13 = 1.6154... 21 = 1.619... 34 = 1.6176... , ~~ = 1.61818... ). We can therefore say that this "twobeat" additive series 1, I, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ... , et cetera, called the series of Fibonacci (from the nickname, Filius Bonacci, of Leonardo of Pisa who rediscovered it in 1202) tends asymptotically towards the ~ progression with which it identifies itself very quickly; and it has also the remarkable property of producing "gnomonic growth" 1 (in which the growing surface or volume remains homothetic, similar to itself) by a simple process of accretion of discrete elements, of integer multiples of the unit of accretion, hence the capital role in botany of the Fibonacci series. For example, the fractionary series 1 1 2 3 5 .g 13 21 34 55 89 2 I' 2' 3' 5' 8' 13' 21' 34' 55' 89' 144""
1 Or rather, quasignomonic, as here the process is only an approximation. But, as we have seen, the approximation becomes so quickly rigorous that we obtain practically a geometric progression. 2 Here each fraction has as numerator the denominator of the preceding one and as denominator the sum of the two terms, numerator and denominator, of the preceding one.
A classical example is shown in the two series of intersecting curves appearing in a ripe sunflower (the .. constant in the same plant. 3a + 5b.
If we consider the disposition of leaves round the stems of plants. 2a + 3b.14
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
appears continually in phyllotaxis (the section of botany dealing with the distribution of branches.. .
.
. I d . we will find that the characteristic angles or divergencies 1 are generally found in the series
i
5 8 13 21 21' 34' 55' . growth (we will see that these growths. have always a logarithmiespiral as directing curve). a + 2b. 13 21 34 89 ratios 21' 34' 55' or 144 appear here. by additive steps. seeds).. b. (a+ b). can produce a "gnomonic. where the shapes have to remain similar.. leaves.. . .. The Fibonacci series is only a particular case of the general "twobeat" additional series a. 21.) 8 The ratios ~. b + (a + b). and p the number of turns (complete circles in projection) made around the stem.
one sees that
B divides
the angular cir
1 If we develop round the stem an helix passing through the intersection points of the leaves. the latter for the best variety. b + 2 (a + b). b.. or a. we will after some time meet a leaf situated exactly over the first leaf.. where the ratio between two consecutive terms has also ~ for limit. t h e ratio 34 In norma aisies. a + b. . The reason for the appearance in botany of the golden section and the related Fibonacci series is to be found not only in the fact that the <D series and the Fibonacci series 2 are the only ones which by simple accretion. If n is the number of leaves passed on the way. but also in the fact that the "ideal angle" (constant angle between leaves or branches on a stem producing the maximum exposition to vertical light) is given by
2' 3' 5' 8' 13'
1123
= a!
B'
a
+ B = 360
0
. specially in the arrangements of seeds. 1 3'appear in the seedcones of firtrees.." homothetic.. 5a + 8b.
then E is the divergency (or angle of divergency). 2b + 3 (a + b). It is also identical to the tenth type of proportion of the Pythagoreans
2
n
(Chapter I). 3b + 5 (a + b).
..
I
. ~' .
13
FIGURE
14
A
I
A
I I
RI
I I
I
~O
.THE GOLDEN SECTION
15
..
I
..' ......
~'
11
FIGURE
FIGURE
12
_ .
"
I
_.....
I I
.....A
A
..........
16
.....'""..

..
"... ...
. .. _
....... ..
\
I I I I I I I
.
__ /·'G
FIGURE
15
MG AMNM't'
FIGURE
8G=MG~AM_/r..
FIGURE
..
The American Jay Hambidge (his first results were published in 1919). who liked to put into evidence a paralellism between the proportions of the ideal temple and of the human body (cf..618. who first discovered that it corresponds to the best distribution of the leaves. this in a wellbuilt body is always
~ = 1. guided by a line in Plato's
. Vitruvius).6 or ~3 = 1. is equal to the
sum of the two following ones). or even to trace a harmonious correspondence (a proportion or analogia. longest term.618. ~ = 3:°
= 220° 29' 32". a fact which was probably recognized by the Greek sculptors.
~2'
(in which the first. The Golden Section also plays a dominating part in the proportions of the human body. The correlation UniverseMan as macroeosmosmierooosmos was studied later on by the Kabbala as well as by the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages. in Greek Architecture (Parthenon) and in music.. and by later dabblers in white and black magic.16
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
cumference (360°) according to the golden section. in fact. this role was rediscovered about 1850 by Zeysing.
or a near approximation like ~ = 1. state that if one measures this ratio for a great number of male and female bodies. the average ratio obtained will be 1. in fact) between the terms UniverseTempleMan. The bones of the fingers form a diminishing series of three terms. The name of "ideal
angle" was given to a by Church. a = ~
= 137° 30'
27" 95. ~. was based on this dominant role of the golden section in the proportions of the human body.. a continuous proportion 1. in botany.625. It is probable that the famous canon of Polycletes (of which his "Doryphoros" was supposed to be an example). but the most important appearance of the golden section is in the ratio of the total height to the (vertical) height of the navel.
One can. the mathematical confirmation was given by Wiesner in 1875. who also recognized its importance in the morphology of the animal world in general.
introduces millimetrical deviations). is directly based on the Golden Section and on the formula: pr side of regular pentagon
=~
V
10.
this very important relation
between the diagonal of the regular pentagon and its side shows
. but also measured hundreds of skeletons. In the most healthy specimens this interplay of proportions shows a really "symphonic" subtlety. so much so that the construction of the pentagon (Figures 17 and 18). AP is the side of the pentagon. including "ideal" specimens from American medical colleges. the side of the starpentagon. but with the following precisions: A rigorous. R (as above) the radius of the circumscribed circle.
(In Figure 17.
with the regular pentagon and with the regular starpentagon or pentagram. or pentagram.THE GOLDEN SECTION
17
Theaetetus about "dynamic symmetry.. . as could be suspected from . the side of the stardecagon.2
V5.l' = \1'52+ 1 . (AG = A'S'). = ~
VlO + 2 V5 and ~~ =~. hair." established carefully the proportions and probable designs not only of many Greek temples and of the best Greek vases in the Boston Museum.. If we call: p.d th e f ormu I '. the geometrical diagrams being often the same as exhibited by Greek temples. . The purely geometrical properties of the Golden Section introduce another unexpected reason for its preponderance in botany and in living organisms in general.. d. and confirmed Zeysing's results. mathematical interplay of proportions based on the Golden Section or directly related proportions (especially
I
those produced by the V 5 and <P. A'S' that of the stardecagon). discovered by the Pythagoreans and given by Euclid. AD the side of the regular decagon. we know that ~ =
V5+1) 2
is shown by any normal human skeleton (in the living body the presence of skin. d.t hi a ISproportion ISintimate I aSSOCIate y
if. mirrors. vases. we have p. the side of the regular decagon.
..
t I
" ..... .. Lilies.\
\'1
~ A
~. D . .I '" j/"
'J
\
~_.
.\ ":>t... 'r'.'
\
...'
A
I
I I
I
..
I \ / ~' '" \
/1 I I
I
I
"
I
\ :/
\I
\
'.
A
:\ "
I
I
I"
....
P'
"
"
.I
. .
\
I
.:...:::.. '~
I. honeysuckle.
\ \
I'.o.' I\
I
I
I
I 1... or corresponding bones or cartilages) general in the animal kingdom is a manifestation of the same predominance of the number 5 and pentagonal sym1Let us note among fivepetalled flowers (the number of petals can here also be 10 or aQymwtiple of 5) all fruitblossoms....>J
17
18
us the intimate relation between the Golden Section.
..I
1\ I"
I
I
r\
\
.. tulips and hyacinths...:~_. and pentagonal symmetry in general (Figures 12 and 14).._
'I
...~ :..'P I Ir\'..
///
:
I
I
<...
= :'
ds
= R. and the side of the stardecagon form a cl) progression of three terms).'I .
. brierroses and all the genus rosa."'. and between the Golden Section and the pentagon...'
~/I'" 1'.~ .. seaurchins).:":. I \ '\'" ~' \ ._...
. show the hexagonal symmetry which we will see is mainly connected with crystals..... '
'
r. passionflowers.
'."
'J
'
I
''6:.... marshmallows. I
I
I II .
. carnations..':
FIGURE
_...i'.:: ...
D'~ 1
"
:
I I
I"~ ..
'\ '.
I I I I
\ ~ " I . I
1'"I
!'QS... the pentagon. on the contrary....1
.
/'
\... \ ~
'\
7.1\
/'
I
I
" I ~.......
'/
._.:::.Q:'"··'":·..
I. the Fibonacci Series. et cetera..
"".~~I... We have also d.. eampanulas.\
. especially in botany 1 and amongst marine animals (starfishes. ...:::7'..J_.... I
~ ..1..~
(the side of the regular decagon. .. geraniums. I ". .18
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
r .. waterlilies.
/
\
'I
\ j
': __ .
the radius of the circumscribed circle.
I :
. .::_1. and homothetic growth. ~ .r
:
I .s .. we shall not be surprised to see the preponderance of pentagonal symmetry in living organisms..rv/
<.::
.""':.'1 I
f I
I I
I
/~.. \I __ A )0(1 " "
."
.....\
I
I
I I'
.
.
I
"" '"
\
f
\I
I
'
.?'" (
....
.. jellyfishes. And because of this connection between the Golden Series or cl) series.. primroses.:.!
FIGURE
t
~.
\ ./ . :
I~ .. .. The pentadactylism (five fingers.... ~":::..
THE GOLDEN SECTION
19
metry. can not.
. We will see in another chapter that this predominance is indeed a characteristic of living forms and living growth. appear among crystals. and that pentagonal forms or lattices do not.
... ) the number m of regular polygons with n sides is
~Q. One sees immediately that the number of regular convex polygons is infinite. such that no straight line meets more than two of them. are the prime factors of n (n = aP. If a.CHAPTER
III
Geometrical Shapes on the Plane
IF N POINTS are given in a plane. The polygons having equal sides and equal angles at the vertices are called regular. .1 possible ones).. and if we draw all the straight lines joining two of these points together so that two lines (and two only) meet in each point (instead of the n . numbering (n .1)! . m = n 2
1. as n can take any integer value. they can be inscribed into a circumference. For each value of n.
we have one regular convex polygon. Gauss proved that a regular convex polygon of n sides can be constructed with compass and rule (in an "euclidian" manner). ~. y . So that there are 1 starpentagon 2 starheptagons 1 staroctagon 2 starenneagons (9 sides) 1 stardecagon. if (and only if) : (1) n = 2P (p being any integer)
20
.
If n is a prime number. yr . a
= n. the other are starpolygons. we obtain all the nossible types of polygons with n vertices. et cetera.
this case we have always k = 2Q. 3 We have seen that in theory the regular polygons with 257 and 65.20. by Professor Hermes of Gottingen.21<+ 1. 19. cannot be constructed rigorously. 2 In Pythagorean NumberMystic. 12.1 = 0 can be represented by a combination of square roots when (and only when) one of the conditions above is fulfilled. but the inverse is not true..8. 10. 7. . This has been done not only for the 257gon (by Richelot . +
1
or
(3) if n is a product of different factors of that type. but even for the one with 65. sides 1 (that is. but that we cannot construct those with 7. n is prime for. 14. n = 9 = 3 X 3.
=
1In
n= 2
2Q
+1 is not always a prime number. 1 The theorem of Gauss derives from the fact that the roots of the equation XD . q=O n= 3 q=l n=5 q=2 n = 17 q= 3 n= 257 q=4 n = 65. 22. 2 so that the heptagon is very rarely used in architectural plans (ViolletIeDuc mentions one Romanesque pillar in Rheims with heptagonal base. .5. 23.
+
.537
but not for q = 5.GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES ON THE PLANE
21
(2) n is a prime number of the type n
= 21< 1. 18. 73. (2r + 1) + . who spent ten years in studying this formidable geometrical entity. 9.. 15. 8 We will examine here the most remarkable of the regular polygons and some of their irregular cousins.. and NotreDame shows an heptagonal stained glass rose). 38.4.in 1832). 6. 23. being distinct prime numbers (the enneagon.. 36. It is therefore impossible to construct exactly a regular convex polygon with seven sides (heptagon). 12. 17. or to divide a circumference in seven equal parts. 25. because 3 21 + 1 is repeated twice). that is.. seven was the VirginNumber. 11. sides. From Gauss' theorem it follows that we can construct rigorously the regular polygons of 3. 13. or the polygon with 18 sides.6.. 16. if n = 2P• (21< 1). 21. we can divide a circumference into the corresponding numbers of equal segments).24.. 18. 11.537 sides can be constructed rigorously. 9. 2r + 1. n = 18 = 2 X 3 X 3. For instance.537 sides (in 1894). as both numbers are primenumbers of the type 21< 1.
The most important of the nonequilateral triangles are: (1) The rightangled triangle with sides proportional to 3. A. This triangle Can be derived from the "Golden') rectangle (OPQM." The Persian (Achemenid and Sassanid) architects made use of this triangle to establish the profile of their elliptic domes (Figul'e 21).273 == 1. . II.618.4 and 5 equal units.!~3.' 1. The angle SMO. . Price noticed that the meridian section of the Great Pyramid was formed of two such triangles having in common the greater of the rightangle sides) 2 which has its sides proportional to 1. in twelve units.t intervals
1 2' 1.22
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
TRIANGLES
In the equilateral triangle (Figure 19) having angles of 60° at its three vertices: If t be the side of this triangle. we have R == ti . V c}) == 1.273. or of Plutarch.8 232...8 .
. measured by Howard Vyse on the Great :Pyramid.2 (Figure 23) AB Side of basesquare 232m. having cP as ratio between the longer and the shorter side) by the simple construction shown in
1 The
rope was actually divided.618 = II). and cP == 1. or triangle of Price (W.. and knotted a.4 (we have 1. 4 and 5 (Figure 20) already known to the ancient Egyptians. R the radius of the circum3 scribed circle..' This triangle is also the only (rightangled) one having its sides in an arithmetical progression.2 == 1m == vII 2 116. it enabled them (and later the Greeks) to draw a right angle on the ground with a rope knotted at intervals of 3. V~.273 X 1. which is exactly the value of the corresponding angle in the triangle OM
3
==
1.4 148. S (the surface of the triangle) is e. (<lJ being the "Golden Section" ratio). It is sometimes called the sacred triangle of Pythagoras. is 51°50'. 2The specifications of the Great Pyramid (Howard Vyse) are: Height OS 148Iti. 116. (2) The "Great Pyramid" rightangled triangle.
\
I \
I.\ \
.
:
I I
\
.273
FIGURE
1~
M
... El/ It ..:
0
~~ = ~~=~=1.
3_\.
" ..' . . . 
~
/
..
'
~o~.. ....GEOMETRICAL SHAPES ON THE PLANE
.
~ B
19
FIOURE
FIGURE 21
P :.
.:.2':'OM=116..o 4
I ..:. Q 
s
05=148.
I \ \
..~l55"SO"...
..'
':\
.
..

..
C
FIGURE
._........O'::l..
\
"
._~._.
..~
:
I
N
.... . ~
".
. ..
"
.~ C
4
0" .~
23
/<"3 /
B
20 : .
...4
S.
/
.. .
'.. .
"...
M
/
FIGURE 23
22
A .
'
.
I
A
.
I
:
..~.__.. '
\
\
AB_EC_BD_¢
FIGURE 24 FIGURE
BCm[j)25
. .
or "Sublime Triangle. Mr. Plates I. Price proved also that this triangle is the only (rightangled) triangle having its sides in geometrical progression. This triangle (Figure 24) is not only an element of the pentagon (joining a vertex to the opposite side) and pentagram. that is: the addition of an outer square to (on the longer side).
THE SQUARE
The construction of the square inscribed in a given circle. The last term is another name for the Pentagram which can indeed be considered as formed of five interlocking A's. are all particular cases of the elementary construction: through the middle of a line to draw a perpendicular to it. and a perpendicular to it from one of the
. ~~. joining the centre of the latter to any of its sides (Figures 25 and 26). Those two relations confer to the "sublime" triangle the most interesting "harmonic" properties."
RECTANGLES
(1) We have already examined the Golden Rectangle. are equal to 72°. and its property of having the square as gnomon. of the square having a side or diagonal of given length. or (_[) rectangle. (3) The isosceles triangle having 36° as angle at the isosceles (sharp) vertex. but also of the decagon.24
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
Figure 22. It follows that the ratio between the longer (isosceles) side and the shorter. We will find the square an important element of rectangular "modulations. or the subtraction of an inner square from the (_[)ectangle produces a similar or reciprocal recr tangle. we have also noted that the inner square can be obtained by drawing a diagonal. or Rectangle of the Whirling Squares. also that the two angles at the base." or Triangle of the Pentalpha. is equal to (_[)(the Golden Section). II and III give examples of designs based on it. designs in which the pentagon appears in a more or less explicit form. ACB and ABC. the double of the sharp angle CAB = 36°.
c
The Triangle of the Pentagon
.
......~ ...
.
.... .......'
PLATE II The Triangle of the Pentagon
.
. ~.
.
.....
~.
"..._ 

.....
....""". ... 
.
..
<._
_" . ..
__......
".. .....
". Harmonic Composition
.
.
....
<../
PLAm III The Triangle of the Pentagon......~
.
We see by referring to the paragraph on triangles that this rectangle V() (the number attached to a rectangle as specification means always the ratio between its longer and its shorter side) is formed of twe rightangled triangles with sides proportional to 1. Y 5. (2) The DoubleSquare Rectangle. that is." We will find the doublesquare as basis of the interesting "Volume of the Chamber of the King" in the Great Pyramid. we have the diagonal d = a y()2 + 1). (3) If starting from the () rectangle OMPQ (Figure 27) we take its longer side MP as diagonal SM to another rectangle. (f). OM. it can be divided into three similar rectangles (Figure 28) and so ad infinitum.273 (because if the shorter side. In Figure 5 we have shown several ways of dividing the sides of this rectangle in the () ratio. which. y(f). we see that this latter has as ratio between its longer and shorter sides the number y() 1. the
«()2
=
=
=
. related of course to the () theme. or triangles of Price. and for a similar reason. is intimately associated with the Golden Section theme of "symmetry. its diagonal.273. This rectangle y() = 1. the longer side of the new rectangle OMNS will be equal to y()2 . is equal to a. for instance. halves of the meridian triangle of the Great Pyramid. as ()2 (f) + 1). has many interesting properties.1 y(). This rectangle plays an important role in the surface modulations associated with the Golden Section. The addition of a square on the shorter side produces the rectangle ()2 being the ratio between the longer and the shorter side). is taken as unit of measurement. like the doublesquare. If keeping a as smaller 2 side we take the length of this diagonal as longer side of another rectangle. we obtain the very important Y 5 rectangle. hence the affinity to () = y 5 + 1. The diagonal of the () rectangle is also equal to the side of the starpentagon inscribed in a circle having the shorter side as radius (if a is the length of this shorter side.28
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
remaining summits (Figure 8). if a is the smaller side.
..
\
\. . . .
/
" :~::::~::. 5 .. DCEA =OCGFWfrect.
I
H
I H 8 N LO '" OGH I JZf MNLA = V5 recto OCGF \fit) r ect.t. .:.
. .. .
. . .
\ . .
.
. . .iL ..
/v
""¢.'/ L
o
/ . ..
H
V¢
. . ..
1
.
. .
BKHI
FIGURE 29
fZr recto
FIGURE
30
.
\
0
FIGURE
M
27
FIGURE
28
. . .
_
P
N
S
.
.t.
G
BNLO _OCHI flf rec.'e
}'
. .
.
rec.
/
/
.'\\
\
. .GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES ON THE PLANE
29
Q
.
/ .
two different planes.' We may state here the principle called "rule of the nonmixing of discordant themes. 2 (the doublesquare). Hambidgecf. In three dimensions. being universal). Figure 29." or commensurability in the square as rediscovered by J. pentagram (BL). AB =
!). Another simpler combination of the same rectangles is given in Figure 30. but the themes tf>' ve." or symmetries. Plate IV represents a Vtf> rectangle divided "harmonically" according to the tf> and the Vtf> proportions. tf>2. "discordant" themes (like V2 and tf»' as long as the principle is respected within each face. Chapter VIII). projections or faces can be treated with two different. In Figure$" we have shown a simple construction for dividing the side AC of the square into the tf> ratio. ADEB is then a tf> rectangle (if AD = tf>2). It is for instance a mistake to mix on the same plane design the themes or proportions V2 and tf>' or V3 and tf>' or V2 and V3. V5.
= 1.618) is often found between the heights of the drawers of Queen Anne and Chippendale chests of drawers and tallboys. as they belong to the same symmetry (the square can be used with any theme. can be mixed.30
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
surfaces of those rectangles forming a geometric progression of ratio ~ (this being an illustration of the Greek notion of "Dynamic Symmetry.
CBEF a c}>2 rectangle (CB
= 1 ~
1
. decagon (AO) and stardecagon (AC = OL). the two themes blending together. tf>2 (BKHI) and V5 (MNLA). starting from the construction of the side AB of the pentagC?n inscribed in a given circle of radius OC.
1 Among the interesting properties of the V<P proportion is the one that in a diminishing series of ratio V<P. the sum of two consecutive terms is equal to the sum of the next four ones. This ratio V<P = 1. on the contrary. shows on the same diagram not only the sides of the pentagon CAB). already stated by Alberti and rediscovered by Hambidge (see Chapter VIII).273 (more seldom the ratio <P= 1. 1 (the square). but also the rectangles tf> (BNLO and BLTA). Vtf> CADCE and OCGF).
: AN = BQ =Y¢ AC NC QA
MC
The
AM = B p PA
PLATE IV
=11
V 4>
Rectangle
.RECTANGLE V¢
AB :.
..
I
"
"
"
PLAmV
Construction of the Pentagon of Given Sides Pentagon and Pentagram
.... ......l_ . ..
'_
..
. ...
.+i\..
.....
I
"" __....
..
... .I .
. ...
.
: ..
"
.. ····' .
/
.
'.
_ . . ..__ 1__.."'"'"""
... ..
'....
\.
~~...
I
.. "
l:
:....
I
i
. ...\
t '... .....
\
.
.

.'
'"
..
/
l
i
..... .
..... ...
PLATE
VI
Variations on the Pentagon
..
...
I
.
.
i
I
$
" .
··.
'I
I
...'"
......:::~.
j3. i
J"
1
I
0
d=t
R"
i
0
1 1
~
). Pentagram.. ..I
i
"
1
:
I '. Decagon and StarDecagon
.
PLATE
VII
Interplay of Proportions between Pentagon.l'
.
._·_"1" _...
..·r·· .
..
Plate V shows an amplification of the same construction. and the radius of the circle.of the pentagram and of the pentagon (they meet in the "sublime triangle").
also the interplay of pentagon and pentagram. Plate VII shows (after Moessel) the interplay of proportions in the same circle between the sides of pentagon. and illustrated this by the corresponding figures. decagon and stardecagon.GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES ON THE PLANE
AND DECAGON
35
PENTAGON
We have already shown in Chapter II the rOle of the Golden Section ratio or proportion in the symmetry of the pentagon. decagon and stardecagon.
. Figure 31 shows the construction of a pentagon of given side AB.
of the
5 +2
¥5. the radius of the circumscribed circle and the side of the stardecagon. the whole within the network of the stardecagon.
Incidentally. and p. form a cJ) progression (~
= ~= cJ)). The surface of the pentagon is Sp = P~r = V5(5 decagon
s. We have seen that the side of the decagon. Plate VI gives different variations on the same theme. pentagram. The same cJ) ratio exists also between the sides p. pentagram (starpentagon). this radius is also equal
to the side of the inscribed regular hexagon. = ~d
2
r
V
+ 2 V5f.
t
F
FIGURE
I
I
d
~ IJI
111
32
. Figure 32 gives the nearest approach to this interesting problem (also the lower figure on Plate XLIII).36
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
Curiously enough.
c
1
11
¢
D 1 1
At
11
¢
c'
B
1
t
11
11
11
¢
11
C C F F = :p rec. it is not easy to combine them on the same design in a direct way. although the pentagon and the () rectangle obey the same () proportion.
and romanesque schools (SanVitale of Ravenna. especially in the byzantine.=v'51
HEXAGON
+ 2 v'5
=R. Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem.c) p. domes. as also does the fact that it can be divided into six equal equilateral triangles. If R be the radius of the circumscribed circle. ds side of regular stardecagon Pr=~v'1O2V5 dr p.
The side of the regular hexagon (Figure 33) is. Carlovingian cathedral of Aachen. The surface is S = 202(1 + v'2). which is really composed of two independent equilateral triangles. et cetera).GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES ON THE PLANE
37
We have the following relation between R. dr side of regular decagon. Nectaire. this confers to the hexagon an important role in the equipartitions or regular lattices of the plane. pr
= 1+ v'5 = c)
2R
= c). v'2(2 + v'2) The staroctagon (Figure 36) and the pseudo staroctagon composed of two overlapping squares (Figure 37) have been used
. and was used in the planning of many churches. St. as noted before. Figure 34 shows the starhexagon. radius of the circumscribed circle. Its symmetry is obviously related to that of the square and of the "theme" v'2 (diagonal of the square). hexagram or "Shield of David" (or "Seal of Solomon"). and pr side of regular pentagon. its surface S = 3R~
OCTAGON
va:
The regular octagon (Figure 35) has played a great rOle in architecture. = ~ v'10 R 2R d. ps side of regular starpentagon. the side of the octagon is equal to 0= 2R . towers. arab.
If h = R be the side of the hexagon. equal to the radius of the circumscribed circle.
IV'
"'~
1/ ~
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/
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.
GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES ON THE PLANE
39
as geometrical patterns of ornamentation in Arab." based on the Golden Section. BC will be the side of the pentedecagon. The circle is often (in Gothic designs) subdivided into 20 parts instead of 10. as it is the 0 0 0 360 360 360 '1 ch or d to an ang Ie 0 f 6 . The formula given at the beginning of this chapter shows
that there are also three star pentedecagons. Th'IS SIl e BC' IS equa I to
~ ( veil + 2 . and IndianMoghul decorative art. With that exception (and that of the pentedecagon of 15 sides.
then AB
=
R.
1 One
constructs first AC
= AD. found in Gothic roses. but this leaves the same "symmetry. as the essential symmetries in Art and Life are based on the themes v'2. side of
the inscribed hexagon. a simple construction of which is given in Figure 38 1) the polygons of more than 10 sides have no interest.W = 240 = 15" . v' 3 and v' 5 (or c)_)).
.
side of the regular decagon inscribed
in the circle with radius OA
=R
(one has AC
= ~). Moslem.'{p3)
. The cathedrals of Rouen and Amiens have each got a pentadecagonal rosewindow.
this property has no correspondent in three dimensions. called since the time of the neoPythagoreans the five "platonic" bodies:
WE HAVE SEEN
Name Tetrahedron Octahedron Cube Icosahedron Dodecahedron
Number of Vertices
4
Number of Sides 6 (3 per vertex) 12 (4 per vertex) 12 (3 per vertex) 30 (5 per vertex) 30 (3 per vertex)
6
8
12 20
Number of Faces 4 eq. s. are related in each polyhedron by Euler's formula 1 v+f=s+2.
1 We shall see that Euler's formula is only a special case of Schlafli's formula for any number of dimensions. satisfying the conditions set down by Gauss. like the number of the integers. far from being infinite. Curiously enough. But this number is also infinite. can be constructed with rule and compass (in an "euclidian" way). the number of sides. inscribable in a sphere). f. triangles (4 per vertex) 6 squares (3 per vertex) 20 eq. and the number of faces. equal solid angles. the number of regular polyhedra (solids with equal sides. equal regular faces. Descartes did it by observing that there were eight solid rightangles round
40
.CHAPTER
IV
Geometrical Shapes in Space
that the number of regular polygons (characterized by the number of their sides) has no limit. is limited to five. triangles (3 per vertex) 8 eq. we can (in theory) produce a regular polygon with N sides. of which we have seen that only a certain number. N being any integer number. The fact that there are only five regular solids (and their specifications) can be proved in several ways. v. triangles (5 per vertex) 12 pentagons (3 per vertex)
The number of vertices.
the same antagonism does not subsist in three dimensions. Whereas in the plane the triangle. and that if (for a regular body) a be the number of solid angles belonging to each body. the square and the pentagon were irreducible to each other morphologically. 'I a Also. if we take the centres of figure of the surfaces limiting one body. the number of total sides does not change). cube. Figure 39 shows how the tetrahedron can be derived from the cube. The tetrahedron is autoreciprocal. Those five solids are connected to each other in a subtle way.GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES IN SPACE
41
Plate VIII shows the five regular polyhedra.
t
. In the same way the 6 sides of any tetrahedron can be set as diagonals on the 6 faces of a cube.'
any point in threedimensional space. from cube to tetrahedron. Figure 40 how the octahedron can be derived from the tetrahedron. One of these rectangles appears on the projection of the enveloping icosahedron on Plate XI. the 4 vertices of the tetrahedron coinciding with 4 of the vertices of the cube (the 4 remaining vertices of the cube and the 6 other diagonals producing another tetrahedron). we obtain the other one (the number of faces becomes the number of vertices and inversely. that is. we can in space pass from dodecahedron or icosahedron to cube. an d e mtegers. the 8 vertices of this cube coincide with 8 of the vertices of a dodecahedron having its side equal to that of the icosahedron. For instance: the 12 vertices of the icosahedron (and 6 of its sides) are on the surface of a cube. The same is true for the couple icosahedrondodecahedron. that is. The octahedron and the cube are reciprocal. reproduces itself by taking the centres of its faces. Let us mention here that the 12 vertices of the icosahedron are also the vertices of three C() rectangles perpendicular to one another and having a common centre of symmetry. 2'14 must be i then 2a4. 8 must be an integer. if fJ be the number of plane angles on the surface of a convex body. or of 5 cubes (2 cube vertices for each dodecahedron vertex).
p
1 Also: the 20 vertices of the dodecahedron are also the vertices of 5 tetrahedra. enveloping. Figure 41 the connection between dodecahedron and cube. The 12 other vertices of the dodecahedron and 6 of its sides are situated on the surface of another. such that its side and the side of the first cube should be in the () ratio. and 'I the number of faces.

.""
.
PLAm VIII The Five Regular Solids
.
PLATE
IX
The Five Regular Solids Inscribed within Each Other
.
to establish the famous astronomical laws bearing his name." 2 attached a great importance to these morphological interconnections between the five regular bodies. 40 and 41 show some of the connections between cube. still more curiously. Kepler's Laws are perfectly valid. 8 In his diagrams (op. Plate IX: shows a modern version of the Keplerian interlocking of the five regular
solids." 1596. The other "treasure" was the theorem of Pythagoras. and used them.) Kepler adds to each solid the corresponding circumscribed spheres. as also the fact that the Golden Section which directs the "symmetry" of the two "higher" ones (dodecahedron and icosahedronthis presence of the Golden Section is natural. 2 "Mysterium Coemoqrephicum: de admirabili proportione orbium caelestium. for whom the Golden Section was "a precious gem. one of the two treasures of Geometry. In the sixteenth century Kepler."
1 Campanus of Novara states in a subtle verbal antithesis that the Golden Section (proportionem habentem medium duoque extrema) brings together the five regular bodies in a logical way (rationabiliter) but by a symphony ruled by an irrational (geometrical) proportion (irrationali symphonia) .
. cit. gratuitous) starting point. In spite of his (to our minds. tetrahedron.44
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
Those affinities between the five regular bodies were mentioned by Campanus of Novara (thirteenth century). the dodecahedron being taken as a geometrical symbol for the harmony of the Whole. together with PlatonicoPythagorean ideas about correspondence between the orbits of the planets and musical intervals. Figures 39.' Those relations were given a great importance not only in Aesthetics but in Philosophy. or Cosmos. Plato in the Timaeus establishes a correspondence between each regular body and some element of Nature. which allows the arbitrary introduction of planetary orbits. dodecahedron. octahedron. the fanciful correlations between planetary orbits and musical intervals are not as absurd as they sound. as dodecahedron and icosahedron together constitute the projection in three dimensions of the pentagon and of its properties) seems to dominate the morphological relations between the five bodies.
~..!.~
~~"""''__
FIGURE
42
There is another way of passing from dodecahedron to icosahedron.
. ./'.~.
. These operations can be repeated indefi
.GEOMETRICAL
.. . on the icosahedron the twenty vertices of an enveloping dodecahedron.....'7
SHAPES IN SPACE
it./:
~
I
:\ '\
:
\
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45
\
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._ FIGURE
I.... .
"
.:.
/'
"
1"
<. I :
\
_..
<.. and from icosahedron to dodecahedron. . it is to lengthen out all the sides (or the planes of the facesthe result is the same) of either of these solids until they meet... ....FIGURE 41
.__ {_'I/
\
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: I \ : __'..! /' ..I '.
..
\
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l
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r
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.. this operation on the dodecahedron produces the twelve vertices of an enveloping icosahedron.
39
FIGURE
40
1\.
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./'
V
"
tI
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~::_:~:_ _.
/
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PLATE
StarDodecahedron
X with Twenty Vertices
.
PLATE
XI
StarDodecahedron
with Twelve Vertices
.
PLATE XII Model of StarDodecahedron with Twenty Vertices
.
PLATE XIII Model of StarDodecahedron with Twelve Vertices
.
respectively dodeeahedron. they are seen inside the network of the reciprocal enveloping icosahedron. which plays an important part in the symmetry of the human body. Poinsot) are indeed dodecahedra. derived from the inner dodecahedron (vertices of this stardodecahedron coincide with those of an enveloping icosahedron). But these same operations. here are their specifications:
1These two starpolyhedra of Kepler (there are two others. in their first step (and if we do not link together the vertices obtained in prolonging sides or faces). corresponding to the pseudostarhexagon or "Shield of David" in the plane.
. as we shall see in Chapter VI. octagons or decagons). squares. which can also be inscribed in a sphere. Plate XII of its companion. thirteen semi . and have as faces two or three different kinds of regular polygons (triangles." Let us return to convex polyhedra. We have here.regular solids. in the same way that the dodecahedron and icosahedron represent the expansion of the pentagon. convex and continuous). The bigger figure on Plate XI shows an orthogonal projection of the stardodecahedron of the first order. pentagons. but also' with pentagonal symmetry.THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE nite1y. called the starpolyhedra of. They are called "Arehimedian" solids or polyhedra. This is the "Stella Octangula" of Kepler. and we obtain thus a "pulsation" of growth in which lines. shown on Plates X and XI. Plate XIII is the photography of a model of this starpolyhedron. produce also the two stardodecahedra 1 called starpolyhedra of Kepler.. also a pseudostarpolyhedron composed of two tetrahedra cutting each other (one vertex of each through one face of the other). besides the five platonic bodies (regular. hexagons. Together they represent the expansion of the pentagram in three dimensions. being each composed of twelve interlocking pentagrams. surfaces. volumes. with the same centre of symmetry. 2 There is. producing alternating evergrowing dodecahedra and icosahedra. less important for us. are ruled by the golden section or cP proportion. and an inner octahedron as common nucleus.
GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
SEMIREGULAR ARCHIMEDIAN SOLIDS
51
Number of Vertices (the index on the top right shows the number of sides meeting Number of at each vertex) Sides 123 18 124. . . . . . . . . . .. 24............ 304• • • • • • • • • • •• 60 243• • • • • • • • • • •• 36............ 243• • • • • • • • • • •• 36............ 603• • • • • • • • • • •• 90 603• . . • . • • . . . •• 90 244 48 604 •••••••••••• 120 483•
• • • • .. .. ...
72............ 180
1203 •••••••••••• 2411 • .. .. • • 6()li......•.....
.. ...
60............ 150
Number O%Idpecification S of Faces 4 hexagons, 4 triangles 6 squares, 8 triangles 12 pentagons, 20 triangles 8 hexagons, 6 squares 6 octagons, 8 triangles 20 hexagons, 12 pentagons 12 decagons, 20 triangles 18 squares, 8 triangles 12 pentagons, 30 squares, 20 triangles 6 octagons, 8 hexagons, 12 squares 12 decagons, 20 hexagons, 30 squares 6 squares, 32 triangles 12 pentagons, 80 triangles
Euler's formula, v + f s + 2, applies also to the vertices, faces, sides, of these thirteen Archimedian bodies. To them we must add two infinite series of equally semiregular inscribable polyhedra: (1) The regular rightangled prisms which can be inscribed in a sphere (two regular identical parallel polygons with n sides linked together by n squares); (2) The regular antiprisms (two regular identical 3600 polygons, parallel but one being rotated by an angle of 2il in relation to the other, linked together by 2n equilateral triangles); they are equally inseribable in a sphere. The regular Prisms and Antiprisms so defined have all the properties of the Archimedian Polyhedra (in each one the solid angles issuing from the vertices are identical); their specifications can be obtained as follows:
=
52
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
Number of Side8 s. Number of Faces f.
Number of Vertices v.
Prisms Antiprisms
2n 2n
3n 4n
n+2 2(n
+ 1)
Euler's formula is also valid for them. The most important Archimedian polyhedra are: (1) The cuboctahedron, having 14 faces (8 equilateral triangles and 6 squares) 24 sides and 12 vertices (Figure 42). It has the important property of having its side, AB, equal to the radius OA of the circumscribed sphere (property analogous to that connecting the hexagon and the circumscribed circle in the plane). If one considers this circumscribed sphere, one can see that the vertices of the cuboctahedron coincide with those of three hexagons obtained by the intersections of three great circles cutting each other reciprocally at 60°. We may thus think that the cuboctahedron is the representant or expansion of the hexagon in three dimensions; in reality the hexagon is represented conjointly by three solid bodies: the cuboctahedron, the hexagonal regular prism (Figure 43)1 and the Archimedian polyhedron examined hereafter (truncated Octahedron, or tetrakaidecahedron of Kelvin); those two last ones have in three dimensions the property of being able to fill space by repetition, parallel to the analogous property of the hexagon in the plane. The cuboctahedron has two other remarkable properties connected with ideal partitions of space (cf. Chapter V), and plays a predominant part in crystallography (Figure 44 represents a crystal of salt, NaCI, the atoms of Chlorine coinciding with the vertices and centre of a cub octahedron, the atoms of Sodium with the verticesand
1 In contradiction to what one might expect, the radius R of the sphere circumscribed to the hexagonal regular prism is not equal to the side h of the
latter; h=
the relation between Rand 2~R
h is R
= h.
2
\/5,. or h
=
y5
2R, also
This intrusion of the Golden Section is unexpected.
~2+r
GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
53
.~
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\:"
....
, ,
\:"',
. ..
'
_
........ _ ... __ ...  '
FIGURE
'
43
Ne
C,
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FIGURE
44
FIGURE
45
centres of facesof the cube out of which the cuboctahedron can be generated by taking the middlepoints of all sides and joining them).' The atoms of carbon in its closepacked crystalline
1 The cuboctahedron can equally be produced by taking the middlepoints of all the sides of an octahedron. Cube and octahedron, being reciprocal, have of course the same number of sides (12).
54
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
form (diamond), also the atoms of gold, silver, copper and aluminum are at normal temperature packed in cuboctahedral lattices. The cuboctahedron plays also an important part in architecture, especially in byzantine (and Moslem) architeeture, and wherever we meet the problem of setting a dome on a cubical supporting frame. The vertices of the cuboctahedron coincide with the points of contact of six tangent orthogonal circles inscribed on the square faces of the generating cube (Figure 45); if we draw the sphere passing through those twelve points, and if we consider the upper half of this figure, the vertical semicircles AEB, BFC, CGD, DHA, correspond to the semicircular arches, the spherical triangles EBF, FCG, GDH and HAE to the pendentives which in this solution (the one chosen by the architect of SantaSophia) are part of the surface of the abovementioned sphere (circumscribed to the cuboctahedron). This solution is also illustrated in the upper figure of Plate XIV; the lower figure shows the other solution in which the dome is a complete hemisphere set on the upper circle HEFG. The Truncated Octahedron (or tetrakaidecahedron of Kelvin =incidentally the cuboctahedron is also a tetrakaidecahedron, having 14 facesor heptaparallelohedron of Fedorov), with 24 vertices, 36 sides, 14 faces of which 8 are hexagons and 6 squares. As pointed out by Lord Kelvin, this polyhedron is the only one amongst the thirteen Archimedian solids which can fill space by repetition 1 (closepacking without intervals). This polyhedron can be produced by dividing each side of an octahedron in 3 equal parts and joining the points thus obtained (Figure 46). One can also obtain the truncated octahedron by starting from 8 closepacked cubes, dividing into 2 equal parts each of the 4 sides of the small cubes meeting in the centre of each face of the great
1We will see that amongst the five platonic solids only the cube has this property.
/
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PL4TE XIV Cuboctahedron and Byzantine Cupolas
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the upper figure the stardodecahedron of the second type. 32 faces of which 12 are pentagons and 20 triangles. Patriarch of Aquilea and Venetian diplomatist. the lower figure the "Stella Octangula"). Luca Pacioli in his Divina Proportione examines besides the platonic solids 1 some of the Archimedian ones. as well as in the five regular platonic solids and the starpolyhedra. in particular the cuboctahedron and Kelvin's polyhedron ("il corpo de 14. But the Renaissance author who took most interest in the Archimedian solids was the allknowing Daniel Barbaro. we shall not be surprised to see it closely connected with the golden section: the ratio between the radius of the circumscribed sphere and the side of this polyhedron is <P. and joining to one another the points thus obtained as on Figure 47. 1569) he establishes them all by the method of cutting off angles or sides of generating
1 According to Pacioli. This polyhedron (Figure 48) can be obtained by taking the middles of the sides of either the dodecahedron or the icosahedron. 60 sides. (3) The Triakontagon (or Triakontahedron) having 30 vertices. In his Prattica de la Perspettiva (Venice.
. also the starpolyhedra (Plate XV reproduces two of Leonardo's illustrations for his friend's fascinating book.56
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
cube formed by the juxtaposition of the small ones. Archimedes studied these thirteen semiregular polyhedra named after him. The triakontagon is indeed the expansion or projection of the decagon in threedimensional space. so does DUrer in his Treatise on Proportions. the icosahedron was taken as an abstract model in planning the temple of Ceres at Cercio near Rome. The PainterGeometers of the Renaissance were interested in them. its 30 vertices coincide with the sides of 6 decagons produced by the intersecting of 6 great circles symmetrically placed on a sphere. 8 exagone"). The little temple of Minerva Medica (known as temple of Vesta) in Rome seems also to have been inspired by the icosahedron or the dodecahedron (see Plate LXI). In 1492 Pier della Francesca dedicated the treatise De Quinque Corporibus to the Duke of Urbino. cive 6 quadrate.
'...
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1
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FIGURE 49
FIGURE
.
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....GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
57
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47
I
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RAP.
.
's (which they considered as solid numbers. are:
1The Greeks studied the proportions of different R. of the type abc). or pieces of furniture.P. because a2b = V. 3 The cube is an important element in Byzantine architecture. especially the ones the characteristic numbers of which formed arithmetical. We have already quoted Kepler's partiality for polyhedra and starpolyhedra (1619). as proportions.GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
59
polyhedra. We will thus define a R." Apart from the cube.A. Plato studied thoroughly the proportions between volumes. he seems to favor a R. by three numbers proportional to these dimensions.A. and takes up again Paolo Ucello's mazzochios by inscribing regular polygons in tori (rings with circular section) and also studding them with pyramids. stating even as a theorem that "two middleterms (proportional means) are necessary to link two solids in a proportion" (for the cubes a3ab2 a3 and b3. whether the volumes are those of buildings.A. the two middleterms are a2b and ab2." the most important R.)
2 Palladio writes that the ideal height of a stateroom must be the proportional mean between the two other dimensions.P. he develops them on the plane of one of their faces (DUrer's method).).' The ratios between these numbers. rooms.A.
OTHER REMARKABLE VOLUMES
The solid corresponding in space to the rectangle is the rightangled parallelepiped (we will call it hereafter R. surfaces and lines. As the rectangle is completely defined by the lengths of its two adjoining sides (the ratio between them ~ defines the shape and proportion of the rectangle).A. ycI». that is by three perpendicular dimensions (or two ratios).P. a monolithic cube measuring 40 ells in each dimension. have obviously a great importance. cI». Herodotus wrote that among the Egyptian monuments. the one which most impressed him was the temple of Buto. so is the R.P's. the floor and ~eiling being cI» rectangles.P. as support for domes on square or octagonal base. and the resulting proportions in volumes. in the Nile delta. geometrical or harmonic progressions or proportions.P.A. of characteristics 1. completely defined by the ratios of two adjoining rectangles. composes fancy starpolyhedra by setting regular pyramids on their faces.
.
A. 1.so that the centre of symmetry of the volume is at the distance <»of the 8 vertices. It is a shape often found as overall volume in pieces of Egyptian furniture (stool of Tutankhamen's tomb. gives as its dimensions 16 ells (length).A. <» (Figure 50). the vertical transversal section a square. 4. generally with "Fibonaccian" approximations
i~
and ~~ instead of 0.P.A.P.60
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
'(1) The R. a. <».P. 16 ells (width) and 10 ells (height). The
Papyrus of Rameses IV (in the Turin Museum) describing the "Golden Chamber" containing this king's tomb. Colman (Figure 52). (2) The R. The Abbey Church of Maria Laach also shows these proportions. that is 2<». Its diagonal rectangles have as characteristic ratios V 5 and V2.l. (4) The R. it was often used as overall volume for Egyptian and Greek temples and for romanesque and gothic churches. tomb 105 at Gizeh. This shape is often found in ancient Egypt.I. The "great diagonal" DB' is equal to 2BC.618. dimensions l. its great diagonal DB' is V6. 1.<»(Figure 49).m95.A. 2. then the vertical sides (and of course the "ceiling") are also <»rectangles.P. and corresponds of course in space to the doublesquare on the plane. when expressed in rhenan ells (the unit
e
.m75). This volume has been often used for Egyptian tombs (example. 1. (See Plate LVIII). The three characteristic faces are two <»rectangles (the smaller side of the "ceiling" <»rectangle ABCD is the greater side of the vertical <» rectangle BCC'B') and a <»2rectangle (ABB'A').A. the vertical transversal section a square. et cetera).a<»or more simply 1. (3) The R. <))2. The base is a rectangle.2(Figure51) in which the base and vertical rectangles are doublesquares.m80. consists of two adjoining cubes.P. a<». <». This R. or "Golden Solid" of S.
/_ .l.....:2 1/
7
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.GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
61
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53
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51
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(5) Nearly as important as the "Golden Solid" and found as controlling volume in many pieces of furniture. Total length 61.A.8. ..
or 4 and 3...P. (f)2.P.~. and the remarkable proportions or characteristic ratios of the diagonal rectangles are: ACC'A' 2 4 /B'CDI A 3 AB'C'D \/21 2
The (here vertical) rectangle BCC'B' with characteristic ratio ~5 is often found as overall frame for human bodies with extended
1This
diagonal rectangle A'B'CD is formed of two rightangled triangles
with smaller sides proportional to 2 and of Pythagoras 345. (f)3 (Figure 53). Length of the nave 100 .. 2 (Figure 54)..A. (f). then its specifications will be 1.2. ~5. Width of the nave 99. 1. . its height being equal to half the diagonal of this double square.4 . the base of which is a double square. the lower volume HGKJCC'D'D thus obtained is a "Golden Solid"
1.. (f)
=
~OI~O) . Height of the tower ( we have (f)2 = 2. is the R. If a horizontal plane is drawn through the vertical rectangle ABCD so as to cut off the square ABGH.
i. tallboys of Queen Anne and Chippendale styles. The great diagonal DB' is ~. cupboards.62
THE GEOMETRY
OF ART AND LIFE
used at the time of its construction) its three dimensions show the remarkable figures: 261. of very subtle proportions is the shape of the "King's Chamber" in the Great Pyramid of Cheops.
(6) A R. that is two triangles
.618.
) and a radius equal to OA. The side of this square base. This diagram (where the meridian <p rectangle A'NC'M of the icosahedron is rotated so as to lie in the plane of symmetry of the page) has the advantage of leading to another unexpected property of this special projection of the icosahedron. J. then JF = OA is the height of the King's Chamber.GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
63
(horizontal) arms. and the square PQ. are still the same. laid down on the plane of the base. base QRSP) with centre at the centre of the sphere. vases (as seen in orthogonal projection). is equal to the side AN of the icosahedron. inscribed Great Pyramid (meridian triangle THK'. Plate XVII shows a variant of Professor Dick's diagram. of the Icosahedron. inscribed icosahedron. d is also the side of the starpentagon inscribed in a circle having a as radius. and as overall frame or component of Greek. struction on the diagram as t'W = 00' = Ot' X <1>. this meridian triangle is composed of two rightangled triangles of Price. as shown by Professor F. and of the Great Pyramid itself. its
seen in Chapter III. but the base of the King's Chamber.
1 As
. ABCD is the doublesquare base of a RA. SR or RQ. Professor Dick's very subtle construction is reproduced in Plate XVI.RS is the base of a Pyramid similar to the Great Pyramid having its vertex in 0 and the four corners of its base on the same sphere. This RA. that is. such that Rt' = <I> This is obtained by the conOt' . Dick in an article published in the American Mathematical Monthly. ABCD. AN is the side of the icosahedron inscribed in a sphere having its centre in o (centre of figure of the RA. similar to the King's Chamber. the relations between sphere.P. The triangle tHt' represents the meridian triangle 1 of the Great Pyramid. of the King's Chamber has other properties connected with the Geometry of the Sphere. its constructions being associated with that of an inner icosahedron.P. is on a different scale.P. and as we have (if Ot' = a) OA = a v'<p2 +1. The lateral side of the Great Pyramid (joining its vertex to one of the corners of the base) is equal to OA (radius of the circumscribed sphere).
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PLATE
XVI
The King's Chamber.' .....
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. the Great Pyramid and the Ieossbedron
.
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PLATa XVII The King's Chamber.I
. .. . .
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but has four lateral triangular faces sloping to a square base. on this same diagram the vertex H of the Pyramid inscribed in the sphere of radius OA' coincides with the projection of the mouth (the total height of the face is equal to 00. it is of course not a tetrahedron. We will see this diagram again in Chapter VI. had already noticed that the navel is the centre of symmetry of the latter. let us only mention here that the point 0 on the top of the projection of the inner icosahedron if:. The theme of the interlinking proportions of the human body as revealed by this projection of the icosahedron (which is also. in a sentence comparing the "commodulation" of a well plannedout temple with that of the human body. If we take on another scale the projection of the great icosahedron as the frame of the human face. The meridian of the Pyramid is the one which crosses the maximum surface of land and the minimum of seas. PS of the mouth). the projection of the stardodecahedron generated from a dodecahedron as nucleus) will be examined in Chapter VI.
. faces exactly North (error smaller than 4'35" or 47~O of the angular 360° sweep of horizon). mn of the tip of the nose. Item corporis centrum medium naturaliter est umbilicus." 2 The meridian plane of the Great Pyramid. All these properties (apart from the astronomical and geographical ones which are just as remarkable 2) are a conse1 Vitruvius. We have just seen some of the geometrical properties of the Great Pyramid considered as a solid. it divides exactly in two equal parts the land on the surface of the globe. LOK is the horizontal of the eyes. Curiously enough.on plate XVI also the projection of the navell (on the "ideal" human figure with extended horizontal arms). as we have mentioned before.66
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
correlation with the "symmetry" (in the Vitruvian sense) of the ideal or average (the average of a great number of individuals) human body and face. The parallel of the Pyramid (29°58'5") is also the one which crosses the greatest surface of land. containing the axis of the
entrance tunnel. "Similiter (he has just mentioned the accurate planning of interlinking proportions by the ancient painters and sculptors) vera sacrarum aedium membra ad universam totius magnitudinis summam ex partibus singulis cosvenientissimum debent habere commensuum responsum.
t"
c
0
d
:M
Id+
C
R~"'"
.3.
. h the height.21. and the hypotenuse (a.I).
. between the smaller side.. We must mention here the interesting theory of Jarolimek and Kleppisch.····=··~:
. c.GEOMETRICAL
SHAPES IN SPACE
67
quence of the proportions 1.I).34..
1 The
measurements for a and h are here the recent ones. different from
those of HowardVyse.. 1.55. the longer rightangle side.273. 63).
.
p':.::.5..
c
. which seems to have been the unit or modulus used in establishing the plans.2. half the side of the square base. one finds: (1) that all the dimensions of the meridian triangle of the Pyramid are multiples of 4r = 2 MQ96. .8. 13. V <. the perpendicular drawn from the vertex to one of the sides of the base) of the half meridian triangle of the Pyramid (Figure 55). <.. ."=t/()::::/r/·.. we have (Figure 55) a = 55 X 4r = 115 m28 c 89 X 4r 186 m53 h = 70 X4r = 146 m721
=
=
(2) that the coefficients 55 and 89 are consecutive elements of the series of Fibonacci. a ' and OAM is still a triangle of Price.. but curiously enough ~ is still equal to v'W = 1. ".89. 1. equal to om 524 (20 inch. standard measure of length used by the ancient Egyptians. 144. They both noticed (as Petrie had already discovered) that if one calls r the royal
A a
A
._I
:T
I
FIGURE
55
FIGURE
56
T
ell.
(2) the Octahedroid or Hypercube. we may here state that in fourdimensional space there exist six regular bodies or hypersolids.
Then.273 = V <Jl ) •
The numbers 55. with the same degree of approximation. or Cs (the index shows the number of threedimensional cells). corresponding to the Icosahedron. corresponding to the Tetrahedron. we find that the smaller side of the doublesquare forming the base is lOr and the longer 20r (r being still the Egyptian royal ell). corresponding to the Cube.= 1. a very close approximation of = 1. h
= 70 X 4r.89 and 70 are also connected by their squares 552 + 702 = 7925 and 892 = 7921.618).
G~ =
1. (5) the Hexacosihedroid." They are: (1) the Pentahedroid or Hyperpyramid. (6) the Hecatonicosahedroid.
. or C24. bounded by threedimensional "cells. or C120.. or C16.61818.
If we apply the same clue to the King's Chamber. having decided for the profile of his meridian triangle on a theoretical Golden Section basis (Figure 56 gives the rigorous construction of Price's triangle starting from a + c PM). This suggested the possibility that the architect of the Great Pyramid. We not only know
.corresponding to the Octahedron. did execute their practical laying out in taking the Fibonaccian approximations:
=
c
a
a
+ c = 144 X 4r
55 X 4r = 89 X 4r ( 89 55
. (3) the Hexadecahedroid. (4) the Icosatetrahedroid.corresponding to the Dodecahedron.
REGULAR
H YPERSOLIDS IN
THE FOURTH DIMENSION
In order to round off this brief sketch of the theory of regular shapes.68
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
asymptotic to the <Jl series.. or Cs. or Csoo.
(Plate XVIII represents several projections on the plane of 3 of the hypersolids. space becomes C . 2.) Euler's formula in fourdimensional.
. 1200 sides. as bounding cells. Ak = 1..GEOMETRICAL SHAPES IN SPACE
69
all the specifications (numbers and kinds of cells and faces. 600 vertices. obviously the realm of the Golden Section in fourdimensional space) but can even construct their projections in threedimensional and twodimensional space.F + S . . sides. The general formula for a space of any number of dimensions is Sehlafli's formula l:(k = 0. The latter have been used by the American architect Claude Bragdon in order to obtain new decorative patterns. 720 pentagonal faces.. vertices). n) (_1)11. faces. 1. numbers of sides and vertices) of each of these hyperpolyhedra (for example C120has 120 dodecahedra.V = 0 (the letters representing the numbers of cells. .
PLATE XVIII Plane Projections of Three Hypersolids
.
.\90•
D
9t.19. hexagons.CHAPTER
V
Regular Partitions on the Plane and in Space
IF HAVING CUT BITS of cardboard into equal regular triangles.. and not
9(. the explanation is of course that the vertexangle of the planefilling polygon must be a submultiple of 3600. we discover immediately that this continuous mosaic or pavement can be obtained only (amongst the regular polygons) with triangles. squares.
FIGURE
57
71
. we try by placing identical polygons next to each other to fill a sheet of paper without leaving any intervals. pentagons. squares or hexagons (Plate XIX). octagons.
each with three types of polygons (3. 1. et cetera may be identical or not):
n
<
<
for three polygons nl. Nos. 10 give seven regular (identical vertices) polymorph partitions (Dumber 9 gives two).2 . 7. Dl D2 D3 n4 n5 n6 Six solutions.. 154.+. goo and 120° satisfy this condition (Figure 57).+. Only 60°. 2. that is: the plane can be filled (without leaving intervals) only by triangles. 7. (3) if several regular polygons of specifications (numbers of sides) nl. squares or hexagons. n2. 20and 5. 10) are to be rejected. because they give only one point each without possibility of repetition.+
nl n2 n3 N? N? N? N? 1 2 3 4 3 4 4 6 12 12 6 12 88 66 N? N? N? N? 5 6 7 8
nl D2 n3 n. (nl .+ . 6. 7. 243. 9.+.2 n2 . (2) when several regular polygons of the same kind meet at one point without leaving any interval. Nos. nll n2. 6. 9. 12.' which we may
1 These regular and semiregular partitions of the plane obey the following algebraical conditions: (1) If n is the number of sides of a regular polygon. n2. if a single type of regular polygon is used. 15. 14. If we allow regular polygons of several types to meet at each vertex of the lattice. 16 give the fifteen semiregular (with different kind of vertices) polymorph partitions.++. 3 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 6 4 4 12 6 6 4 N? 9 N? 10 N° 11
nl n2 n3 n4 n5 n6 33344 33336 333333
Nos. meet at the same point without leaving any interval. 180° = 3600 nl n2 n3 1 1 1 1 or++=nl n2 n3 2 1 1 1 1 for four polygons =1 nl n2 n3 n4 1 1 1 1 1 3 for five polygons = 2nl D2 D3 D4 D5 . 2 n3 _. this leaves the possible combinations:
+
+
+. we have (it results from (1).++ . We may call these three types regular isomorph partitions or regular equipartitions of the plane. 5. n3. 10. 4. na. we get 22 more partitions. 2).
the inner angle at each vertex is a = n .180°.+. 8.11 1 111 for SIX polygons = 2. 13.72
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
bigger than 120° (as at least three polygons must meet at each junction). 183. 11 are the three regular isomorph partitions (equipartitions). 3. 423.+. 5. we must have 2 n 7. 8. etc. 5.
.
with 4 different types of vertices (the only one with this particularity). several types of polygons). 7 can be called regular polymorph partitions (having identical vertices in which several kinds of polygons meet). and fifteen can be called semiregular polymorph partitions (several types of vertices. Plate XX shows the regular polymorph partitions 9 and 9bis.
1Isotropic:
homogeneous as regards both linear and solid angular strue
. to the neighbouring ones. they show the two (or three) different types of regular partitions from which they are derived. 1 and 10. when there are two lines (in one case even three) of such numbers. taken as centre of figure. 8 cubes and 12 lines (fused into 6) meet in every vertex of the lattice thus produced.REGULAR PARTITIONS
73
call "polymorph". out of these. The vertical rows of angles show the clockwise succession of angles for each type of vertex. Plate XXIII the regular polymorph partition 2. square and triangle. which combines dodecagon. hexagon. and Plate XXVII the semiregular polymorph partition N? 12. Plate XXV the semiregular polymorph partition 16. Plate XXI the regular polymorph partitions 6.. The horizontal numbers show the numbers of the sides of the polygons meeting at each junction. This lattice is not isotropic (the distances from one point. The three regular isomorph partitions (regular equipartitions of the plane) have been shown on Plate XIX. The following table gives the specifications of all twentyfive regular and semiregular plane partitions of space. are not equal).
PARTITIONS OF SPACE
The only one of the five regular polyhedra which allows an equipartition of space is the cube.. Plate XXII the regular polymorph partitions 3 and 7. We can obtain an isotropic 1 pointlattice in space in starting from
ture. Plate XXIV the semiregular polymorph partition 13 quatuor (with 2 types of vertices). Plate XXVI the semiregular polymorph partition 14bis.
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PLATE XXIX
Cuboctahedron and ClosePacking of Spheres
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82
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
four series of equidistant planes cutting each other under the same anglesthat is. gives the maximum volume for a given surface (or the minimum surface for a given volume). hence economy of substance. and in taking either all their centres. so in space we can have twelve spheres tangent to an identical inner sphere (Figure 59). In space. also the facets on the eye of the fly). The cuboctahedral packing of spheres corresponds to the "natural" piling of shot or balls. that the centres (or else the centres and points of contact) produce the cuboctahedral pointlattice. colonial madrepora. It is in this perfectly isotropic closepacking of thirteen spheres. Whenever those cells are closely distributed on the same plane. apart from an equal repartition of stresses." indefinitely repeated. superficial tension makes living cells (like unicellular organisms) take spherical shape which. parallel to the four faces of a tetrahedron. and have a sufficiently strong expanding force. The equilibrium. as the centres do not form a perfectly isotropic lattice. the balance of stresses.
. or their centres and points of contact. or in cuboctahedra and octahedra in equal numbers. each sphere being tangent to the six faces on the enveloping cube. The pointlattice is identical to the one obtained in filling space by the most dense possible system of equal tangent spheres. is of course not as stable as in the other arrangement. they take for the same reason hexagonal shapes (corals. As in the plane we can place outside a circle six tangent circles identical to the first (Figure 58) and repeat the process indefinitely/ (the centres of the circles are then part of a triangular or hexagonal isotropic pointlattice). because in relation to the centre of each sphere the centres of the twelve surrounding tangent spheres (also the twelve points of contact) coincide with the vertices of a cuboctahedron (Figure 59). 2 There is another way of packing tangent spheres in a regular way. But oddly enough the partitions thus obtained (Plate XXVIII) do not correspond to a division of space into closepacked tetrahedra (this in euclidian space cannot be realized) but to a division into tetrahedra and octahedra (twice as many tetrahedra as octahedra). when living cells more or less equally distributed on a plane or curved surface develop by lateral expansion or growth. when their centres are the centres of closepacked cubes.
1 In nature the hexagonal lattice is very frequentfor instance.
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/
83
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FIGURE 59
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Among the regular rightangled prisms (which are really semiregular polyhedra as they have two different kinds of faces) the hexagonal prism (and its subdivision the triangular prism) also allow the equipartition of space (a property equally inherited from the hexagon. which has thus three representatives in threedimensional space). These regular and semiregular partitions of space play of course an important
1 So that if one supposes that the spherical cells in a system of spheres closepacked according to the isotropic (cuboctahedral) arrangement possess a faculty of indefinite elastic expansion. the cells will tend to take the ahapes of Kelvin's polyhedra. only the upper layer being completely drawn. they correspond to a projection of the cuboctahedron in which its affinity to the hexagon is clearly seen. Kelvin's polyhedron (Figures 46 and 47) is the only one which can be closepacked in space without leaving intervals.84
THE GEOMETRY OF ART AND LIFE
Plate XXIX shows another projection of these thirteen tangent spheres. Other systems of closepacking regular and semiregular polyhedra of two or more kinds might be deduced from a general formula starting from the fact that the solid angles meeting at one point must add to eight solid rightangles (rightangled trihedra). as in the upper figure of the plate. We have already seen that space can be closely filled in a "polymorphic" way (two or more different kinds of regular or semiregular polyhedra) by a system of tetrahedra and octahedra (twice as many tetrahedra as octahedra) or by a system of octahedra and cuboctahedra in equal numbers. it is also amongst the regular or semiregular solids allowing an equipartition of space (the cube and hexagonal regular prism are the only other ones in this category) the one which gives the greatest volume for a given surface. We have seen that among the thirteen Archimedian semiregular polyhedra.
. 1 this property is derived from the hexagon (as are for the cuboctahedron the property of producing isotropic pointlattices and of having its side equal to the radius of the circumscribed sphere).