Adolph Zeising 


The Life and Work of a German Intellectual


Roger Herz-Fischler

Almost all of the statements that have been made concerning the appearance of the golden number (golden section, golden ratio, etc.)  in man-made objects (art, architecture etc.) and in nature (human body, astronomy etc.) can be traced back to one person, the German intellectual Adolph Zeising. The following two links lead to the Medici Venus from his 1854 New Theory of Proportions and to a plate from his 1856 article "Face Angles".

Chapter 3 of this book describes the sources of Zeising's golden number theory and the various applications that appear in his books and articles. The chapter also discusses the golden number publications of other authors that appeared before Zeising's death in 1876. Over 110 illustrations from original source material, almost none of which have ever been reproduced, appear on the accompanying CD-ROM.

Click here to read the opening pages of Chapter 3 in PDF format

Zeising's life is of interest on its own and is discussed in Chapter 1. The son of a poor widowed mother, he worked his way through his doctorate and later became involved in the German revolution of 1848-1849. Indeed, golden numberism can be said to be a by-product of Zeising's participation in the revolution. From the beginning of his advanced studies, and continuing throughout his life, Zeising was an active author, critic, playwright, poet and philosopher. Chapter 2 presents the first complete bibliography of Zeising's writings. Selected extracts from Zeising's writings are given in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 discusses the documents related to his life. The CD-ROM contains reproductions of documents, maps, literary works etc., in addition to the reproductions related to the golden number. The work is fully documented through footnotes and a large bibliography.

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