ART AND PHYSICS by Leonard Shlain

ART AND PHYSICS

Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas come from and how they enter the consciousness of a culture. Though art and science are traditionally considered antithetical disciplines--with art dependent on intuition for its development and science on logic and sequential thinking--both nevertheless rely on an initial burst of inspiration regarding the nature of reality, and in Western culture the two have followed separate but remarkably similar paths. Shlain offers detailed anecdotes from the history of Western culture--from the ancient Greeks' penchant for single-melody choruses and blank rectangles, through the fragmented art and science of the Medieval period, to modern art's redefinition of reality and the relativity revolution in science--to illustrate how major movements in art have generally preceded scientific breakthroughs based on equivalent ideas, despite the artists and scientists involved having remained largely ignorant of one another's work. Shlain's suggestion that scientists have not so much been inspired by artists but have received initial inspiration from the same source--bringing to mind the possibility of a universal mind from which such ideas spring--is an intriguing one that offers a new window through which to view the dissemination of knowledge and ideas. A fascinating and provocative discussion--slow in coalescing but worth the wait. (Seventy-two b&w photographs and 15 diagrams.)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-688-09752-9
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991




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