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Seen Unseen: Art, science, and intuition from Leonardo to the Hubble telescope [Hardcover]

Martin Kemp

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Book Description

Oct. 15 2006
iSeen | Unseen/i is a deep, richly illustrated, and erudite analysis of the interconnections between science and the visual arts. Martin Kemp explores the responses of artists, scientists, and their instruments, to the world - ranging from early representations of perspective, to pinhole cameras, particle accelerators and the Hubble telescope. From Leonardo, Durer, and the inventors of photography to contemporary sculptors, and from Galileo and Darwin to Stephen J. Gould, Kemp considers the way in which scientists and artists have perceived the world and responded to its patterns, and sees common 'structural intuitions' reflected in their work.

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In Seen/Unseen, Kemp engages in some Leonardo da Vinci-like lateral thinking, tracking the parallel and often complementary ways in which artists and scientists have visualized the world from the fifteenth century to the present. Kemp connects the dots between, say, perspective in Renaissance painting to the three-dimensional computer models of today. Kemp's explications require the reader's close concentration as they illuminate not only painting, sculpture, photography, and satellite imaging but also anatomy, astronomy, particle physics, and advanced mathematics. This does not make for light reading, but the rewards are substantial. Kevin Nance
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This well-illustrated book will appeal to anyone interested in form and perspective in the visual arts,as well as to science readers interested in perception and aesthetic sense."--Chemistry World

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art & Science, Friends for Life Sept. 30 2007
By C. L. Vash - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Please don't be put off by the Introduction. Keep reading; you'll be glad you did. The Intro seemed (to me) to be an extreme example of the overly precise elaboration of subtle(!) nuances that readers of scholarly writings learn to tolerate because we NEED the information buried - somewhere - within. But as soon as he moved away from trying to explain himself (his intentions, his book), and moved onto his topic, the writing began to flow. It became a wonderful opportunity to "listen" while an expert mused upon the historical intertwinement of the evolution(s) of art (his field) and science (one he has bothered to learn quite a lot about) ... and their apparent interdependence. He claims interest only in the varied uses of visual experience, but not in the currently-popular reconciliation of art and science. Yet, page by page, I found myself developing clearer understanding of why so many thinkers are feeling driven to try to reconcile these realms of activity that are often contrasted in ways that demean one or the other. Similarly, he shows no particular interest in a third currently-popular realm that I expected to find treated, our evolving brain and its wiring &/or activity. But he has made it easier for someone who does have this interest to write the next book in what could become a "series."

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