|Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man c. 1487|
A.K.A. Proportions of Man
Ever since the ancient Greeks waxed philosophical about the "golden mean" and proportion being the formulaic canon for aesthetic beauty we have been chasing the symmetrical dragon. But is symmetry always ideal?
Gestalt theory states that “we tend to order our experiences in a manner that is regular, orderly, symmetric and simple”. We like to put things in boxes, the laws of perception are a quick-hand in making snap judgements but these are intrinsically flawed.
Biologically speaking there is scientific reason for the ideological and subconscious response to perfect symmetry but spoon-fed this concept in Western culture it's difficult to see past the Occidental axiom. Perhaps we should look further East and at the the Japanese term wabi-sabi for an appreciation in finding beauty in imperfection. Is a pearl not created from a flawed grain of sand within the oyster's shell?
To prove my point here I've taken three famous faces which many would argue to have perfectly symmetrical features and used two of their right sides to form the center picture and the two left sides to form the face on the far right.
Neither the two right sides nor the two left would be hard to look at, though neither add up to the sum of the original's parts.
Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state.-Thomas de Quincey-