Puzzle: Rubens, Portrait of Susanne Fourment & Golden Rectangles, Droste Effect
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Rubens, Portrait of Susanne Fourment and Golden Rectangle.
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Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640). Flemish painter, draughtsman and diplomat. He was the most versatile and influential Baroque artist of northern Europe in the 17th century. He is well-known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
Portrait of Susanne Fourment
Portrait of Susanne Fourment ('Le Chapeau de paille'). c.1625. Oil on panel. National Gallery, London, UK.
Rubens married Isabella Brant, the daughter of a leading Antwerp citizen and humanist Jan Brant. Susanna Fourment was related by marriage to Rubens' first wife, Isabella Brant. Later the widowed Rubens married Susanna's sister Helena Fourment.
A golden rectangle
is a rectangle whose side lengths are in the golden ratio,
one-to-phi, that is, approximately 1:1.618. A distinctive
feature of this shape is that when a square section is
removed, the remainder is another golden rectangle, that is,
with the same proportions as the first. Square removal can
be repeated infinitely, which leads to an approximation of
the golden or Fibonacci spiral.
The Droste effect is a specific kind of recursive picture, one that in heraldry is termed mise en abyme. An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of itself in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear. This smaller version then depicts an even smaller version of itself in the same place, and so on. Only in theory could this go on forever; practically, it continues only as long as the resolution of the picture allows, which is relatively short, since each iteration geometrically reduces the picture's size. It is a visual example of a strange loop, a self-referential system of instancing which is the cornerstone of fractal geometry.