The science behind art

The science behind art

We often begin to believe that science and humanities they can never go hand in hand.

We tend to pigeonhole people in people of science or letters assuming that if you belong to one of those two groups the other does not have to attract you at all.

However, there is nothing further from reality. The humanities, both the branches of the art like those of the philosophy, encourage critical thinking, very necessary for the development of scientific theoriesWhile science can help you understand which colors will fit best in a painting, what sounds will make the best song, or simply what an author was thinking when he carried out his work. For this reason, with this article I want to give a few brushstrokes (never better said) on some examples in which art and science They are closely linked in such a way that one discipline could not exist without the other.

The science behind Dal’s art

If there is a Spanish painter that serves to explain what I mean today is Catalan Salvador Dal.

As you know, he was quite a character extravagant, not only in his way of dressing and behaving, but also in his way of painting. This is precisely what gave his works the genius that surrounds them, but also science was very responsible for this result.

To begin with, the painter recognized resorting to hypnagogy when she ran out of ideas for her paintings, even though he called her dreams with key. This technique consists of making use of the hallucinations obtained in that small phase of the dream in which we remain with a little consciousness, but our brain has been deactivated to the point of starting to generate dreams. Surely if at any time you have felt that feeling you will have realized that you can to intervene in the dream and model it with some freedom. Well, that is basically what many artists take advantage of, starting from an idea that was hidden in their subconscious and modifying it to your liking.

In addition to this curious way of searching for the muses, Dal was also a fervent follower of science, especially of theories of Sigmund Freud, which were captured in works like The Persistence of Memory or The Great Masturbator.

Similarly, he was also very interested in quantum physics and mathematics, which greatly influenced works like the Corpus Hypercubus, on whose cross are seen the four dimensions.

Another of the scientific discoveries that greatly attracted his interest was the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule by Watson and Crick (AND Rosalind Franklin, let’s not forget). In fact, this milestone is clearly represented in works such as Galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid, in which he sees himself as Gala, his wife and muse, attends the miracle of life.

A Dal painting to understand the human mind

Notice how far Dal’s genius reaches that one of his paintings has been chosen by a group of researchers from the area of neurosciences of the Glasgow University to unravel the ins and outs of visual mechanisms of the human mind.

The work in question is Slave market, a painting that includes a optical illusion which can lead the viewer to observe the voltaire bust depending on how you look at the image, so it was an excellent method to analyze how it analyzes the visual information Our brain.

Leonardo da Vinci, the genius of the humanities and sciences

The Renaissance it was one of the few most prolific as far as union between Science and humanities it means. There were many characters of the moment that stood out with the convergence of both disciplines, but if one should be mentioned we will always stick with Leonardo da Vinci.

In fact, recently we told you about a study that is going to start in which a multidisciplinary group scientists from various countries, among which is Spain, they try to decipher everything about the artist, from his customs to his appearance and even your DNA!

For this, they intend to look for remains of their genetic material in their notebooks and other objects that belonged to them or even embedded in their paintings, since it is not certain that he is who is in his supposed grave.

And if it is so important to know more about this artist, it is precisely because he was an extraordinary man, who stood out in all the disciplines he set out to do. His work is well known as painter, with pictures like La Gioconda, whose relationship with science we will mention later, but was also a magnificent scientist who based his theories on observation of nature and experimentation.

In this way, he made completely trustworthy drawings on the human anatomy, including a exact reproduction of a baby in the womb from his mother. Besides, it was also a great engineer, since it is known totally revolutionary inventions in its time, such as parachutes, kilometer counters and some hitherto unknown vehicles such as helicopters, submarines or bicycles.

The Mona Lisa, a painting full of mysteries

Many say that the face expression of the Mona Lisa It is a mystery, because it is not known if she is serious or if she smiles, but after the discoveries that have been made around her that is the most trivial thing we can worry about.

For example, at the end of last year, the French scientist Pascal Cotte I found another portrait hidden inside the box, which could represent the real gioconda. The finding could be obtained thanks to a technology based on intense rays of light not damage the picture and although it may only be the result of an attempt to reuse the canvas To save yourself the expense of buying another, it is impossible not to think that you could hide some mystery that we have not managed to understand.

And to think about that is not something so crazy if we consider another 2014 study according to which if the two versions of the picture (da Vinci’s and painted by his apprentice) you get what could be the first 3D image of history.

Van Gogh, a turbulent artist

If we think of Vincent van Gogh the first thing that comes to mind is the ear episodeBut this painter was much more than that.

A good example of this is the results of a study that was carried out by a group of scientists from the CSIC, the Autonomous University of Mexico and the Oxford University, in which it is shown that the strokes of some pictures, like the famous Starry Night, follow the same patterns as the turbulent fluids, so that the probability of luminance fluctuations at two points in the table separated by a concrete distance, corresponds to the speed differences of any two points separated by the same distance in one of these fluids according to the Kolmogorov’s physical theories.

In addition, it is suspected that this type of pattern is also found in famous paintings by other authors, such as The Scream from Munch.

Using paintings to understand the evolution of the human being

In this case, when I refer to evolution, I do not mean exactly the evolution of the species as we know it, but the evolution of our life forms and, especially, of the diseases to which we have been exposed throughout the centuries.

There are many ancient scientific studies and all kinds of documents that can help us understand this type of data, but sometimes it is enough to stroll through a museum to learn about it.

For example, the box Las Meninas, of Velzquez, helps to understand the large number of cases of consanguinity (reproduction between close relatives) existing in the family of the Habsburgs, since they can be observed two cases of dwarfism, due to achondroplasia or growth hormone deficiency. Furthermore, if the characters in the painting are compared with other paintings in which their relatives appear, it can be seen that practically one hundred percent of the members of the house of the Habsburgs they had the same nose and the same forward chin.

Also in some tables you can see how the sailors for him vitamin C deficiency what caused them scurvy, responsible for the appearance seen in some paintings like Defense of Cdiz against the English, of Zurbarn.

In addition, the tables can also be used to even know disorders of the painter himself, something that can be seen in some works of El Greco in which deformed the bodies of its characters, leading to some people pointing to a possible visual impairment. However, it is only a simple hypothesis for which there are also many detractors who claim it was just one of the personal stamps of his pictures.

Be that as it may, the best painters in history relied on science to perfect their works, and a large number of scientists throughout history have relied on paintings to better understand the physiology and behavior of human beings.

It is useless to try to separate two disciplines that must necessarily advance together. Don’t you think

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