Rule of thirds in more depth

Example of the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a simplification of compositional aids such as dynamic symmetry and the Golden Section / Golden Ratio / Divine Proportion / Fibonacci Spiral. Some people suggest that the rule of thirds doesn’t work or is outdated but these are compositional tools that were used by all of the great masters and can be seen in most art works including painting, filmmaking, architecture and photography over the past two thousand years.

The Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio
Dynamic Symmetry
Dynamic Symmetry

Roman Engineer and Architect Virtruvius -70BC – designed and built buildings using the principle that the human body represented the perfect proportions. This is where the name for Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (1490) came from, which illustrates Vitruvius’ concept.

These proportions can be seen in the work of all of the Master painters. The rule of thirds is a simplification of some of these concepts

Da Vinci Vitruvian Man
The Last Supper
Da Vinci’s (c.1498) The Last Supper – showing how the Rule of Thirds relates to previous artworks.

Da Vinci, L. (c.1498) The Last Supper. Available at:
Da Vinci, L. (c.1490) Virtruvian Man. Available at:
Dean, R. (2019) ‘We Are the Golden Rule’ Medium 29 Sept. Available at: