Book review: Art and Science

Art and science

Art and science – two confining territories, two points of views to discover and represent the world around us: their similarities and differences, their evolution and interactions through time, the figure of the artist and the scientist in various ages are treated in this richly illustrated volume. The time period is really huge: from the beginning of human history to our days. It’s surely very ambitious to include everything and the material is difficult to organize so the author in the chapters takes various disciplines of arts, like architecture, design, decoration, painting, performing arts and their relations to science through history. In every chapter she goes through time and space in big steps synthesizing evolution (typically a paragraph for a period), then leaps to another place. For example, in the architecture chapter treats gothic style, the next page with new title (Distances and encounters) describes pre-Columbian America. This continous leaping through times and geographical places is quite dizzy, you simply can’t assimilate so much information. The book is very rich in content but is surely not an easy reading. The style is more of a school textbook than entertainment. It can be valuable as a reference book, to read bit by bit.  Also it requires a good culture from the reader and stimulates further investigation, else the information does not remain in memory. The illustrations are very interesting, it’s a pity that some beautiful paintings are printed in black and white instead of color (for example a Rubens and a Monet painting). The curiosities about artists and scientists lighten up a bit the heavy text.


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