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Sacred Geometries Essay

1203 words - 5 pages

Human beings seek to explain objects and occurrences in their environment through the use of myths. Myths have been passed down through the ancient times to present day and they allow people to live beyond their everyday experiences, to have something to believe in and hope for. Myths can also help to explain where certain things came from and can give meaning to things such as numbers and shapes. Proportioning and geometric systems like the golden section can link directly back to myth, giving a reason as to why they were used in something such as a building design. The legacy of Marcus Vitruvius will connect to the medieval cathedral of Salisbury and to the modern-day work of Norman Foster ...view middle of the document...

The works and writings of Marcus Vitruvius were widespread throughout the Middle Ages.
The golden section, which is also known as the golden mean, golden ratio, and the divine proportion was discovered by Pythagoras of Samos, an ancient Greek philosopher and is as such: r = (1 + 51/2) / 2 = 1.618… or (1 / r) = (51/2 − 1) / 2 = 0.6180… and is a proportioning system. This golden section also relates to Vitruvius’ Vitruvian Man, drawn by Leonardo de Vinci (Figure 1). In the Vitruvian Man, the radius from the man’s right arm to left arm is close to equaling his entire body height from his head to his feet. Also, it can be directly related to the Fibonacci number sequence. These different proportioning systems can be found in both old and new architecture. Relating this system back to myths, one could even say that the idea of the golden section is a myth. People could attempt to force the proportioning system on a building or object in nature, making it go where it was not originally intended to be at all. The idea of the golden section has been around since the beginning of time even though it is not known when it was first discovered. Though the golden section could have come about due to a myth someone started, that does not change the fact that it can be found in nature and architecture alike and that it has been past down from generation to generation.
Cathedrals and other buildings have been analyzed and diagrammed in order to attempt to discover the different types of underlying geometries they possess using various systems such as the golden section. Designs present in these cathedrals may seem out of the ordinary or that they cannot even physically work or be thought of, but they most likely came from overlapping geometries to create something very unique. In Gothic cathedrals, such as in Salisbury there exists a geometry that can be closely analyzed in order to find sacred numbers, shapes, and meanings. These cathedrals were designed and laid out in many more ways than what was originally thought. Many buildings from those days used proportions in design and even used the human body as the perfect proportion, basing much of the building off of the body.
Salisbury Cathedral, located in Salisbury, England, was designed in the architectural style of English Gothic and was constructed from 1220-1258 with the towered being added on from 1334-1380. The design of this cathedral came from Bishop Richard Poore and Elias of Dereham. These men had the golden ratio in mind during the design process and...

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