The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat

The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat


By (author) Martin Kemp

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 383 pages
  • Dimensions: 254mm x 279mm x 28mm | 1,814g
  • Publication date: 22 April 1992
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300052413
  • ISBN 13: 9780300052411
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: 549 b&w illustrations, 16 colour plates, select bibliography, index
  • Sales rank: 150,465

Product description

In this illustrated book, Martin Kemp examines the major optically oriented examples of artistic theory and practice, from Brunelleschi's invention of perspective and its exploitation by Leonardo and Duerer to the beginnings of photography. In a discussion of colour theory, Kemp traces two main traditions of colour science - the Aristotelian tradition of primary colours and Newton's prismatic theory that influenced Runge, Turner and Seurat. His book provides information for all those interested in the interaction between science and art.

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Back cover copy

For almost five hundred years the central goal of European painting was the imitation of nature. Many artist and theorists, believing that imitation must be based on scientific principles, found inspiration or guidance in two branches of optics--the geometrical science of perspective and the physical science of colour. In this pathbreaking and highly illustrated book Martin Kemp examines the major optically orientated examples of artistic theory and practice from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century.

Table of contents

Part 1 Lines of sight: perspective 1 - from Brunelleschi to Leonardo; perspective 2 - from Durer to Galileo; perspective 3 - from Rubens to Turner. Part 2 Machine and mind: machines and marvels; seeing, knowing, and reating. Part 3 The colour of light: the Aristotelian legacy; Newton and after.