Art and Science: A Tangled Relation

  • James W. McAllisterEmail author
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


Broaching the topic of the relation between art and science 500 years after the Renaissance plunges us into a complex set of tangled congruities and incongruities in flux. Some writers portray the Renaissance as a golden age in which art and science were united or integrated (Crombie in Hist Sci 18:233–246, 1980). Some go on to lament the fragmentation of areas of human endeavour since the Renaissance, and work to recover hidden unities of purpose and of method between art and science.


  1. Alsina, C., Nelsen, R.B.: An invitation to proofs without words. Eur. J. Pure Appl. Math. 3, 118–127 (2010)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Bechtel, W., Abrahamsen, A., Sheredos, B.: Using diagrams to reason about biological mechanisms. In: Chapman, P., Stapleton, G., Moktefi, A., Perez-Kriz, S., Bellucci, F. (eds.) Diagrammatic Representation and Inference, pp. 264–279. Springer, Cham (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernal, J.D.: Dr. Rosalind E. Franklin. Nature 182, 154 (1958)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birkhoff, G.D.: Aesthetic Measure. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (1933)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, J.R.: Proofs and pictures. Br. J. Philos. Sci. 48, 161–180 (1997)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buskirk, M.: The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byerly, A.: Effortless art: The sketch in nineteenth-century painting and literature. Criticism 41, 349–364 (1999)Google Scholar
  8. Carlson, A.: Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture. Routledge, London (2000)Google Scholar
  9. Casonato, C.: Invisible landscapes: Art, science and truth in contemporary astronomy pictures/Paesaggi invisibili. Arte, scienza e verità nelle immagini astronomiche contemporanee, XY (Series 2) 4, pp. 46–65 (2016)Google Scholar
  10. Cazeaux, C.: The aesthetics of the scientific image. J. Aesthet. Phenomenol. 2, 187–209 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crombie, A.C.: Science and the arts in the Renaissance: The search for truth and certainty, old and new. Hist. Sci. 18, 233–246 (1980)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cuevas, J., Heglar, L.E.: Photography and the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Philos. Photogr. 4, 163–180 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration: First M87 Event Horizon Telescope results. I. The shadow of the supermassive black hole. Astrophys. J. Lett. 875, L1 (2019)Google Scholar
  14. Gibbons, M.G.: Reassessing discovery: Rosalind Franklin, scientific visualization, and the structure of DNA. Philos. Sci. 79, 63–80 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heyne, F., Meter, J., Phillipson, S., Steenmeijer, D. (eds.): Apollo: VII–XVII. teNeues Media, Kempen (2018)Google Scholar
  16. Kessler, E.A.: Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McAllister, J.W.: Beauty and Revolution in Science. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY (1996)Google Scholar
  18. McAllister, J.W.: Reasoning with visual metaphors. Knowl. Eng. Rev. 28, 367–379 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McAllister, J.W.: Rhetoric of effortlessness in science. Perspect. Sci. 24, 145–166 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Parsons, G.: Theory, observation, and the role of scientific understanding in the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Can. J. Philos. 36, 165–186 (2006)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Penrose, R.: Picasso: His Life and Work, 3rd edn. University of California Press, Berkeley (1981)Google Scholar
  22. Poincaré, H.: Mathematical creation (trans: Halsted, G.B.). Monist 20, pp. 321–335 (1910)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. Roberts, J.: The Intangibilities of Form: Skill and Deskilling in Art After the Readymade. Verso, London (2007)Google Scholar
  24. Thagard, P.: Why is beauty a road to the truth? In: Festa, R., Aliseda, A., Peijnenburg, J. (eds.) Cognitive Structures in Scientific Inquiry, pp. 365–370. Rodopi, Amsterdam (2005)Google Scholar
  25. van Fraassen, B.C., Sigman, J.: Interpretation in science and the arts. In: Levine, G. (ed.) Realism and Representation: Essays on the Problem of Realism in Relation to Science, Literature, and Culture, pp. 73–99. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison (1993)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy, University of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations