Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

Leonard Shlain, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (480p) ISBN 978-0-688-09752-3
Leonardo da Vinci's complex sequential drawings, of pigeon wings fluttering in flight and of patterns made by fast-flowing water, anticipated time-lapse photography by 300 years. Surrealist painters' space-time distortions seemingly foreshadowed Einstein's theory of relativity. Franz Kline and Kazimir Malevich attempted to make abstract paintings devoid of image, color and light years before physicists fully accepted the notion that black holes could exist. Using these and other examples, Shlain, a Northern California surgeon, advances his thesis that art is precognitive: artists conjure up revolutionary images and metaphors comprising preverbal expressions of the novel concepts later formulated by physicists. He roots his theory in brain research and in a Jungian archetypal unconscious said to be stored in DNA strands. His provocative discussion is rigorous enough to appeal to the skeptical scientist yet wholly accessible and engaging to the art lover or general reader. Many potential connections between art and science are brought into full focus, aided by scores of art reproductions, photographs and diagrams. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-688-12305-5
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-06-122797-4
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