Tell us something we don’t know: why science can’t show us much about art

3762“The scientific ‘discovery’ that Van Gogh’s art changed after his 1888 breakdown proves a forensic approach is no match for the subjective eye of an art lover.

“There are objective results in science. There is no objective truth in art. It exists in our eyes and in our imaginations. I happen to agree with the research behind this latest Van Gogh investigation – that he got more strident and emotional in his art as his mental health declined – to the extent that I find the results obvious. But someone who has spent years looking at Van Gogh might disagree – she might see this as a melodramatic interpretation and argue that Van Gogh is not really an expressionist painter at all but a student of light and colour. That’s a valid point of view too, whatever the science says.

“Thanks to science, we know that we live on a rock orbiting a mediocre star in a mediocre galaxy. But we won’t ever invent a science that can tell us what Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night is about. The data lies hidden in our souls.”

The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – Natalya St. Clair

Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work.

Does the Golden Ratio Not Measure Up?

“The professor has also conducted numerous experiments in Stanford’s psychology department wherein he asks students to pick out which rectangle they like best out of a diverse group. He said the ones they select are always random and frequently change. If the golden rectangle were really the most pleasing, wouldn’t students choose it every time?”