The Secret of Beauty


That’s right, math is the secret of beauty. Or a least of beautiful design as it relates to architecture, furniture and other decorative arts. Horace Brock claims to have discovered that the secret of beautiful design is “themes” (motifs such as a curve or line) and “transformations” (changes in the motif, such as size, rotations). People find only a middling amount of complexity beautiful, so if there are many themes, there should be few transformations, and vice-versa.

Brock claims his theory goes beyond Fibonacci, and other calssic models of beautiful form.

It sounds simplistic, to say the least, and even more like a vague description of how objects physically must appear. Brock, based on this Boston Globe article, seems to have an interesting personality, if only for calling aesthetic philosophers Kant, Schiller, and Hume “fuzzy wuzzy.” He gets extra credit for saying about art’s effect on him, “it’s all a variation on an orgasm, isn’t it?”

I’m not arguing that form, whether you classify it as themes or motifs, is unimportant. I would argue that it is not the secret of beauty, only a component. N’cest ce pas?

3 thoughts on “The Secret of Beauty

  1. Very interesting post, makes me remember how I heard that the more “symmetric” someone’s face is, the more attractive we find them. Denzel Washington is always an example of this.
    Also reminds me of those fun squiggle pens and other stencils that we all created “art” with when we were younger…

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