Many might think that art and science have little in common. On the contrary, artistic and scientific disciplines are often intertwined. For example, the architectural and design professions rely heavily on fundamental principles from both fields. And many inventors have had artistic training or influences. Here are some notable artist-scientists who have had a major influence on our world of today.
Morse studied art under the 18th century painter, Benjamin West, at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. He is, of course, known for inventing the telegraph and Morse code. But his contributions to the arts are undeniable. For example, he co-founded the National Academy of Design in 1825.
Leonardo da Vinci
There is no better example of a 'Renaissance Man' than Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci's interests ranged from human anatomy to astronomy and engineering. He is credited with numerous 'ahead-of-his-time' inventions. And his studies in anatomy and perspective led to the creation of some of the world's most cherished artistic works, like the Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Santiago Romon y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, was the first to suggest the individual cell structure of the brain. His Nobel Prize-winning depictions are, even now, valuable sources of neurological information. The beautiful ink-on-paper drawings, reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s artistic style, resemble a densely branched tree, or a beaded abacus.
John James Audubon
Audubon published his Birds of America (1827–38). A catalog of 435 different species of birds, his life-sized watercolour illustrations are truly a work of art. A copy recently sold for over $11 million at Sotheby’s in 2010.
Lozano-Hemmer is a 21st century electronic artist. Utilizing the internet, computer programming, and searchlights, Lozano-Hemmer creates large-scale, public installations that rely heavily on viewer participation. His work has even taken on a biological bent, using viewers’ heartbeats and fingerprints as the on-off switches in his light-based and kinetic works.
So, as you see, the lines between art and science of often crossed. One needs look no further than Nature to find the 'Art' of Science.