Canvas Size

"The division of the whole on the unequal parts looked proportional when the ratio of parts of the whole between themselves is the same that the ratio of them to the whole, i.e., that, the ratio, which gives the Golden Section.”

Adolf Zeising (1810-76)


The Divine Proportions of the human body is embedded in the sizing of my canvases. The human body is a living example of Divine Proportions, also known as the Golden Section or Phi. There are many examples of the Golden Section expressed in nature’s creations. Plants illustrate the Divine Proportion in the arrangements of petals, leaves, and the formed spirals of pine cones and sunflowers.

The Golden Section, or Phi (1.618) is manifested in the structure of every part of the human body. If the length of the hand has a value of 1, for instance, then the length of hand to the forearm has the approximate value of Phi.

For example, my hand is 19.5 cm and my forearm is 31 cm:19.5 times Phi (1.618) equals 31.5 fairly close to the actual of 31. Then the combine length of my hand + forearm to the forearm has the same proportion: 19.5 plus 31 equals 50.5, and 31 times Phi (1.618) equals 50.2, again fairly close. The human body abounds with examples of the Golden Section.

The head also forms a golden rectangle with the eyes at its midpoint. The mouth and nose are each placed at golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin. Phi defines the dimensions of the human profile. Even when viewed from the side, the human head still illustrates the Golden Proportion.

In the early 20th century, an architect, Le Corbusier (1887-1965) attempted to find standardization by looking at the main proportion and dimensions of the human body, and the Golden Section. Art historians and psychologists can testify that the eye easily recognizes and distinguishes the aesthetically pleasing proportion of the Golden Section. Le Corbusier starts from a human body, he worked with 183cm (six feet). He takes the total height, from the hand of the vertically raise arm to the feet and divides it into two equal parts, at the level of the navel.

He figures that the total height is divided according to the Golden Section at wrist level of the other arm. The distance from the feet to the top of the head is also divided by the Golden Section, in this case using the division at the navel. He continues demonstrating the Golden Section as natural rhythm, inborn to every human. Le Corbusier developed a scale of proportions which he called Le Modulor, based on the human body whose height is divided by the Golden Section commencing at the navel.

All my paintings start with the construction of the frame and the stretching of the canvas. I build all my own frames to have them in harmony with the human scale and the Golden Section. This principle was also the basis of art and architecture throughout time. Some of the most beautiful art works in the world have been analyzed from the mathematical basis and found to be in harmony with the human scale and the Golden Section. In order to join the viewer with my paintings, I have applied Le Modulor to the sizing of my canvases. The canvas size used in the Reva series are generally 135.6cm (53 3/8") x 83.8cm (33"), the ratio of height to width is 1.618 creating a Divine Proportion.

This description presented here of the Golden Section is by no means an exhaustive discussion. It is a brief presentation directing you to the methodology behind my canvas sizing. A detailed description and study of the Golden Section, Le Corbusier, and Le Modulor can be found on the internet or your local library.