Look Back: Art History

Science and Art History: A Brief Hello

Hi everyone – thanks to the 50 of you who have so far signed up to follow Before the Art on WordPress.com! It means a lot to me.

And I’d like to alert you, my tens of followers, that I’ve got a blog “mini series” coming up, which will focus on the history of art and its relationship with science.

From his close examinations of the living world, an owl by the 15th century German artist Albrecht Durer

From his close examinations of the living world, an owl by the 15th century German artist Albrecht Durer

Vermeer, The Astronomer, 1668.

Vermeer, The Astronomer, 1668.

The triumph of Alexander Graham Bell is captured here on film - itself  a relatively recent discovery.

The triumph of Alexander Graham Bell is captured here on film – itself a relatively recent discovery.

Now at the moment, the combination of science and art is trendy. The Cern supercollider has hired an artist in residence.

Earlier artwork for Cern: Cosmic Song by Serge Moro (France), 1987. In the visitor entrance, it lights up with the constant rain of cosmic ray particles from outer space as visitors stand on the sculpture.

Earlier artwork for Cern: Cosmic Song by Serge Moro (France), 1987. In the visitor entrance, it lights up with cosmic ray particles from outer space as visitors stand on the sculpture.

Central St Martin’s University in London is starting their MA Art and Science program. And artists the world over, such as Rosemarie Trockle and the duo Semiconductor, reflect a fascination with this other field in their artwork.

Rosemarie Trockel Lucky Devil 2012 Crab specimen, perspex and textile Private Collection

Rosemarie Trockel Lucky Devil 2012 Crab specimen, perspex and textile Private Collection

Film still from Magnetic Movie, by Semiconductor

Film still from Magnetic Movie, by Semiconductor

So it’s no secret that in recent years the two disciplines have joined forces. Now I want to look back at the history of their relationship.

Science and art actually have a lot common. You could even argue that “modern” science was born out of – or at least with a lot of help from – art. Both are based in the practice of close observation. Both range from the most apparently profane aspects of life to minute philosophical concerns.

God the Geometer, from a 13th century manuscript

God the Geometer, from a 13th century manuscript

Anatomy theatre surrounded by reminders of mortality, 1610.

Anatomy theatre surrounded by reminders of mortality, 1610.

Neorgelia margaretae by Margaret Mee from "The Flowering Amazon"

Neorgelia margaretae by Margaret Mee from “The Flowering Amazon”

Basically, both science and art, in the most general possible terms, are simply human responses to the world around us.

Unsolvable Rubik's Cube / Rock Painting Paris by Stephane Jaspert

Unsolvable Rubik’s Cube / Rock Painting Paris by Stephane Jaspert

So among my other posts, keep your eyes peeled for a six-part series on science and art right here on Before the Art over the next few months.

Questions, comments or contributions – especially where science is concerned? As usual, don’t fail to contact me. You can reach me through my email address beforetheart@gmail.com. Or, head over to my Facebook page (like my page if you haven’t yet), and let me know your thoughts!

This is the introductory post for my ART AND SCIENCE miniseries. Catch up with the other posts here:

Art and Science 1: Forging Art in the Industrial Revolution

Art and Science 2: Botanical Illustration and Beautiful Illusion

Art and Science 3: Secrets of Painting Revealed in X-ray

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4 thoughts on “Science and Art History: A Brief Hello

  1. I wish I could remember the names but two sisters, a developmental biologist and a fashion designer, collaborated on a fashion series inspired by embryonic development in the past couple of years.

    Da Vinci is probably the quintessential example of where science and art come together 😀

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