Often, art is where you least expect it. Sometimes art is a particularly foggy morning, other times it's a child's drawing made from pure imagination, or it could be, you know, a nasty brawl in the Ukrainian Parliament.
Someone took a candid photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament that is as well-composed as the best renaissance art pic.twitter.com/BBhw6rdT3l
— James Harvey (@jamesharveytm) August 6, 2014
Yup, that glorious freeze frame of an epic face palm is an example of what's called the golden ratio, a term Renaissance artists used to describe the most aesthetically pleasing -- and therefore obviously divine -- ordering of elements in an artwork. Two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio equals the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.
Confused? Well, you can see the phenomenon in Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam," and about a thousand other Renaissance masterworks.
According to Mashable, the accidental artwork above was first noticed by Facebook user Manzil Lajura, who highlighted why the photo's composition was so compelling, even placing it inside a fancy frame just for fun. It was later tweeted by artist James Harvey, and retweeted ad infinitum. The Guardian kindly contributed a lovely narrative explanation.
"The Fibonacci spiral has been placed on top of it to show just why its elements cohere so satisfyingly. Starting with one added to one, if you add each number in a series to the one preceding it you create the Fibonacci sequence, whose beautifully exponential growth can be transposed on to everything from the arrangements of petals in flowers to cauliflowers. Here, the violence spirals exponentially outward from the focal point of the fight up to the reddened face of the man at the top of the image; in another brawl image, at the top of this article, the spiral similarly flows around the image to the shiny-suited politico grappling in the middle."
Of course, the Ukrainian Parliament probably wasn't trying to choreograph a perfect flow of movement and drama when they broke into a scuffle over a decree permitting more reservists to defend against Russian troops, but that's what makes the whole thing so magical. Dan Scully then tweeted another example of accidental Renaissance artwork, this time with a soccer moment that looks strangely like Christ's descent from the cross -- sort of.
Just your daily reminder to always keep your eyes open for stealthy artworks lurking in your neighborhood Parliament. Have you noticed any other examples of the golden ratio where you least expected it? Let us know in the comments.