The ancient Egyptians were the principal culture to use mathematics in artwork. It seems more or less certain that they credited magical properties to the golden ratio, and installed it in the building of their great pyramids. As the golden ratio is seen in the birth and wonder of nature, it can furthermore be applied to pull off beauty in addition to equilibrium in the design of wall art. This is only a application however, and not a regulation, for paintings.
Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, was particularly concerned by the divine proportion, and illustrated that it was the center for the proportions of the human body. He confirmed that the human body is built with every section in a well-defined golden ratio to every one of the other parts. Pythagoras' discoveries of the ratios of the human figure had a great effect on Greek wall art. All of their major buildings, right down to the finest element of decoration, was manufactured upon this ratio.
The golden section was employed often by Leonardo Da Vinci. Notice how the key dimensions of the space and the table in Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" were determined by the golden ratio, which was celebrated in the Renaissance age as The Divine Proportion. A golden rectangle fits so naturally around the key form that it is often asserted the painter purposely painted the figure to conform to those proportions. Being aware of Leonardo's affection for statistical designs and the Fibonacci sequence, this is to be expected.
Salvador Dali explicitly employed the golden ratio in his masterpiece, The Sacrament of the Last Supper. The lengths of the canvas are a golden rectangle. A gigantic dodecahedron, with edges in golden proportion to one another, is poised above and behind Jesus and dominates the work. Michelangelo’s David utilized an identical idea, depicting the naval as the statistical epicentre of the Golden Ratio.