Make a square. Find the half-way point on its bottom
edge. Place the point of the compass there and the pencil
of the compass in the upper left corner.
Draw an arc that extends in alignment with the
bottom edge. That's the ratio that creates the golden section.
Extend the bottom edge to the end of the arc, then
complete the golden rectangle. This new rectangle now has the ratio of 1 (vertical) to 1.618 (horizontal). The original square is also the rectangle's rabatment.
Here I've divided the horizontal into thirds. Look at how close in size the
thirds are to the golden section.
We don't need to figure the golden rectangle or find the golden section for placing our images though. There are two easy systems which will enable us to get our images in that aesthetically pleasing location without all the figuring just by eyeballing.
One is the called the "eyes of the rectangle," illustrated in the top diagram below; the other, "rule of thirds" illustrated in the bottom diagram. The "eyes" are found by drawing a line from corner to corner, then locating the spot half-way between the center and any corner. The thirds are obviously done by dividing both long and short sides into thirds. At the intersections are where images get placed.
These sweet spots are very close to the golden section and often occur at the rectangle's rabatment. Look at the following three examples by nineteeth century European artist Anders Zorn. Using the methods above, you can find how Zorn placed his important images within the area of the rabatment, the eyes and/or the thirds of the rectangle.
Anders Zorn, Impressions of London
Anders Zorn, Baking the Bread
Anders Zorn, The Thorn-brake