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The Golden Ratio

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The Golden Ratio, sometimes referred to as the Golden Spiral, The Golden Mean, or the Divine Proportion, is a special number, found in mathematics, found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. An image of a curving, declining spiral, often used to represent the golden ratio in art and design, is often overlaid on memetic images as a demonstration of their natural balance or aesthetic.


The origin of the mathematical concept of the golden ratio is unknown, but dates back at least as far as the Greek mathematician Euclid. The expression of the equation as a spiral inside of a dividing rectangle comes from this time, when the initial rules of geometry were being written.[1] However, the spiral was later often referred to as the Fibonacci Spiral[2], based on the name of the mathematician who determined a series of ever-increasing numbers that approached the golden ratio, but never officially met it.

21 34 513 8

Since the Enlightenment, the image of the golden spiral has been used as part of classical arts education, especially to teach the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, who used the ratio to create his compositions like the Mona Lisa. This is also known as "the Rule of Thirds" in art and composition.[3]



Online, the spiral image is often overlaid on memetic images to demonstrate (either ironically or not) that these viral images are as pleasing as a classical composition. On Tumblr, both "the golden spiral"[4] and "the golden ratio"[5] will bring up these types of images. Many popular subjects have been overlaid with the golden spiral; for instance, on December 15th 2015, a picture (below, left) of Donald Trump in which the direction of his hair was shaped by the golden spiral was uploaded to /r/pics, and received 4,133 points (87% upvoted)[6]. Another popular facial golden spiral overlay was created by the Russian graphic designer Igor K in January 2014, who created images that re-arranged the faces of celebrities like Nicolas Cage to fit the ratio (below, right).[7]

Other popular subjects of the overlay include Sonic the Hedgehog ,[8] who's spines are arranged to fit the spiral, and Vladimir Putin, who is often pictured with the spiral focusing on his nipple in shirtless photos. In addition, the popular webcomic xkcd maintains an unrelated page titled "Spiral" that contains random photographs overlaid with the golden spiral.[9]

Manchester New Year's Photo

The Manchester New Year's Photo is a photoshop meme based on a photograph taken during 2016 New Year’s Eve revelry in Manchester, England. Later that same day, BBC senior news producer Roland Hughes tweeted the photograph, comparing the high level of drama with that of a beautiful painting. As of January 5th, 2015, the tweet has received over 25,600 retweets and 29,600 favorites. Due to Hughes' reference to painting in the image, many respondents to the tweet began altering the image to produce painting-like results.One of the first to do so, shortly after Hughes' originally tweet was the user GroenMNG, who detailed the way in which the photograph reflected the golden ratio.

Groen Maar Niet Gek Follow GroenMNG @hughesroland seems the people and actions are on interesting axi and regions RETWEETS LIKES 8:44 AM-1 Jan 2016

Various Examples

infinitelogin tumbl Follow It was meant to be #fibonacci #golden ratio #grandma's smoking weed #weed #bong #fibonacci sequence #me #art #pot #it's 4:20 somewhere #net art 97 notes That thing where you get so f----- up, you pass out while complying with The Golden Ratio.

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