The Illusions of Art and Science.

As far as I’m concerned, the title of this post could as well have been The Illusions of the Art and Science of Plumbing, Cooking, Cleaning or …why not….Living.

There really are no such things as Art or Science. There are only artists and scientists. Take as an example all those discussions about Leonardo; his art and science. For Leonardo, art was a skill, a know-how applied both to his scientific experiments and to painting. I go back deliberately to the old meaning of the term “art,” when art was identified with skill or mastery – the art of war, the art of love, or whatever else. Art is something with a skill. There’s no disembodied skill as such; skill is always applied to a particular task.

 Art has to do with the embodiment of our value systems: we value elegance and tenderness; love and other such emotions are ingredients in our value system. I do think that the intellectual level of discourse of, say, a number of great scientists and Nobel Prize winners, is much higher than the level of discourse in most art criticism. Much of the activity of art historians has been wedded to whatever is fashionable in the art market at a given time. There is a constant temptation for artists to be sensationalists – not to make great works of art or even minor works of art but merely talking points – and to achieve notoriety for a time.

Artistry can be defined as having mastered a skill sufficiently enough so that you don’t have to think about it; you live it. Artistry is the bridge between concept and craft. Once you have mastered a skill you can transcend technicalities and focus on creating, inventing and innovating. Artists and scientists constantly work their crafts by developing their skills. In order to take on more challenge and stay in the flow, you constantly need to learn new skills. Mastery is what separates the virtuoso from the technician; in science, art and living.

Art and science are the results of actions by people who’re living while paying attention.

Featured Picture; SIMONE DE CYRILLE: Oleg Shuplyak, Ukrainian Surrealist Painter.

4 Comments

  1. Invention is an “art” of science, I suppose. Once one has reached a good understanding (if not complete mastery) of the science of a particular field or group of fields, the creation of things based on the science of those fields is art. A car, for example? Is a car not a result of the creative skill achieved by those that have some level of understanding/mastery of the sciences needed to create the car in the first place?
    The “fashionable” aspect you mention about art, I think, has, unfortunately, carried over to science on some level. It seems there is “cool” fields science and “not cool” fields of science these days. I think all science is “cool” and should be treated with equality. I believe we limit ourselves by making the different fields of science “flavors of the day” and neglecting the less “flavorful” fields.

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  2. Most creative people are driven by an inner impulse and are sometimes out of sync with the so called zeitgeist. Multiple examples exist, maybe the most notorious ones being Van Gogh and Tesla. Both had good guts about what society needed, but had deplorable communication skills. Sometimes the value of an innovation can be measured by the amount of resistance it encounters in conservative circles (be they scientific, artistic, economic… ). And copycats have basically a healthy function in the sociological process of spreading new ideas, although their personal motivation is often questionable.

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