Glossary and Bibliography


ɸ (Phi) is the letter of the Greek alphabet that denotes the golden ratio. A Φ rectangle (or golden rectangle) is approximately 1.168 in length to 1 in width.


A German term that refers to a medieval guild of cathedral builders. Almada owned an edition of Matila Ghyka’s Le nombre d’or, wherein he probably read the quatrain that prompted his geometrical research on the Bauhütte point.

Dinheiro” from King Afonso Henriques’ period

Up until the mid-14th century, minted coins were also called “dinheiro” (a term derived from denarius, the name of a Roman monetary unit which was still in circulation at the time).

Ecce Homo

Latin expression meaning “Behold the man”, a theme from Christian iconography, and the title of a picture in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga [National Museum of Ancient Art], painted by an unknown artist circa 1570, which deeply fascinated Almada Negreiros.

Émile-Auguste Chartier

Émile-Auguste Chartier (1868-1951), also known as Alain, was a French philosopher, journalist and pacifist. Among his pupils were Simone Weil, Raymond Aron, and Simone de Beauvoir.

Figura superflua exerrore

The title of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci included in Luca Pacioli’s treatise De divina proportione. Almada Negreiros had a 1946 edition of this book (published by Editorial Losada).

Golden angle

The golden angle is obtained by dividing the 360º circumference according to the golden ratio, which produces two angles: an angle of 137,5º and a complementary one of 222,5º, approximately.

Golden number

The golden number is (1+√5)/2, which equals approximately 1.618.

Golden ratio

Two lines are in the golden ration if the proportion between their lengths is the golden number, ɸ (approximately 1.618).


An expression from ancient Egypt which literally means “rope stretchers”, and refers to those who specialized in laying out the foundation lines of architectural structures. They would accomplish this task by using knotted ropes, hence the term.


A double-headed or double-bladed axe. Originally from Crete, the labrys became widespread in Greek culture, acquiring several symbolic connotations throughout the times.


A plateau in the Andes Mountains, with a height of more than 4,000 meters above sea level, and known for its anthropomorphic rock formations. Almada establishes a connection between his square grid and the ancient cultures of this region.

Parts of a circumference

The expression “parts of a circumference” refers to the measure resulting from the division of a circumference into equal parts (a regular pentagon, for instance, divides a circumference into five equal parts).


A pentagram is a five-pointed polygonal star.


The proportion of a rectangle is the relationship (the ratio, or the quotient) between its length and its width.

The Gauss-Wantzel Theorem

A mathematical theorem that determines which regular polygons may be accurately constructed with a compass and a straightedge.

The Athenian Treasury

The treasury, located at Delphi, is a Doric marble monument dedicated to Apollo. Almada establishes a connection between his square grid and the geometry of this classical building.



José de Almada Negreiros: Ver, Arcádia, 1982.
João Furtado Coelho: “Os Princípios de Começar”, Colóquio – Artes (n.º 100), 1994.
Luca Pacioli: De divina proportione, Editorial Losada, 1946.
Matila Ghyka: Le Nombre d’or, Librairie Gallimard, 1931.
Pedro J. Freitas and Simão Palmeirim: Livro de problemas de Almada Negreiros, SPM, 2016.

Updated on 16 october 2017

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