The Science of Art

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

3.93 (46 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?

Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


In this pathbreaking and richly 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 Durer to the beginnings of photography. In a discussion of color theory, Kemp traces two main traditions of color science: the Aristotelian tradition of primary colors and Newton's prismatic theory that influenced Runge, Turner, and Seurat. His monumental book not only adds to our understanding of a large group of individual works of art but also provides valuable information for all those interested in the interaction between science and art. "This beautifully made volume . . . shows us the unity of the visual study of nature-the exalted mutual task of Renaissance science and art."-Scientific American

"[A] wonderful book. . . . Martin Kemp has convincingly demonstrated that even the most diverse styles of Western art from the Renaissance to modern times remained ever enthralled by scientific optics. . . . [A] handsome volume."-Samuel Y. Edgerton, American Scientist "An extraordinarily ambitious, even daring, enterprise. . . . The book leaves us in no doubt about its author's expertise in both fields. It includes the most comprehensive account of the development of perspective theory and practice I know."-Thomas Puttfarken, Times Higher Education Supplement "Kemp has performed a valuable service. . . . His style is lucid and he emerges as an honest broker who judiciously weighs the historical evidence. He has an impressive command of the literature of both art and optical science across much of Europe and over a span of four centuries. . . . Kemp's thesis is amply illustrated with several hundred plates, including many of his own line drawings. . . . The reader is led gently through the history of art and the details of optical science to appreciate their interrelationship."-Geoffrey Cantor, Oxford Art Journal
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 383 pages
  • 241 x 279 x 30.73mm | 1,837g
  • New Haven, CT, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 549 b-w + 16 color illus.
  • 0300052413
  • 9780300052411
  • 172,134

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.
show more

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.
show more

About MR Martin Kemp

Martin Kemp, geb. 1941, ist seit 1991 Professor für Kunstgeschichte am St. Andrew's College in Oxford.
show more

Rating details

46 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 22% (10)
4 52% (24)
3 24% (11)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X