As funding for education is decreased in certain areas and put to other uses, classes such as art and music have peen put on the back shelf. The idea is that they are not quite as important to a child’s education as English, history, math, and science. Obviously, teachers of artistic classes feel that their jobs are important to the learning and development of the children that they work with, but others are quickly realizing the importance of arts in all aspects of human interaction. Crayola has recently released an ad campaign claiming that, “Today’s Crayola kid is tomorrow’s self confident adult” (”Crayola”). They say, “studies show that children who participate in the arts are more likely to say they feel good about themselves” (”Crayola”). As the importance of art becomes more evident it might be necessary to view it in new perspective. Music and art are very mathematical. “In the early 1400s, Leon Battista Alberti suggested painting be considered a Liberal Art with a scientific basis. In De Pictura he exposed optical perspective as a geometrical technique which could be applied by artists to their work” (Science Art). Although art is viewed as a flowery pastime by most people, it can be seen in artistic discovery and advancements, through the recreation and entertainment that most people enjoy today, and through the lives and works of those we consider to be artists that art is amazingly concerned with science.
The development of art forms such as photography were made possible because of scientific discoveries. The earliest photograph is attributed to Joseph-Nicephore Niepce. Although his first photograph was no where near as clear and glossy as what we would consider to be a photograph, his scientific discovery allowed for further development in the area. Robert Kunzig writes
Niepce used particles o asphalt, hardened by the sun and rinsed in lavender oil to capture his pictures. Invented in 1824, Niepce’s camera had to be opened to the sun for at least eight hours (and sometimes as long as two full days) to expose its asphalt film. In the late 1830s, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre’s use of silver halide emulsions and development cut that time down to less than half an hour. (24)
Computers and advanced technology have made it possible to create film-work that continues to grow more and more accurate and lifelike. With the invention of computer animation, animators have been able to create scenes for movies in minutes rather than hours. Computer animation is not limited to cartoons but can also be used to create events that would have been dangerous or impossible to capture otherwise. Journalist Fenella Sauders, who spoke with Computer graphics scientist John Anderson, reports
“a lot of science went into making those monster waves in the film The Perfect Storm. Anderson says, ‘The trick (in making a wave look more believable) is to cheat the physics. If you want a wave to break at a certain time, you have to manipulate it a significant amount of time ahead. You can’t just come in and break it right then because it will look like the hand of God just came down and slapped the thing’.” (Hand God 11)
Thanks to advancements in technology like computer animation people get closer and closer to realistically recreating reality.
Games, although not always considered to be an art form, are making a new name for themselves as visual attractions when they meet architecture. Architecture and art have always been closely related. Most building are not only designed to be sturdy but also to be beautiful to the eye and to the soul. It is not uncommon to drive though a city and see a large mural painted on the side of a building. What is uncommon is to see a ten story Tetris game running on the side of a building, but students from Brown University’s Technology House have made that sight a little more common. Fenella Saunders reports, “several hundred people got to play the game, including Apple cofounder and Tetris whiz Steve Wozniak, who flew out for the event” (Tetris 18). Move over Wyland. A new sort of action mural has moved in thanks to innovative technology.
There has been a growing interest in science that can be seen in the entertainment world. Corey S. Powell, who has done research into science on stage reports that “playwrights increasingly are turning to serious scientific themes, and audiences are responding with heartening enthusiasm” (86). This isn’t hard to imagine. The world is in a time running rampant with scientific discoveries and advancements. The science of the human makeup has been unfolded, and we are learning more and more everyday about what it is to be alive in the world. It is no wonder that humans want to interest themselves in the world of science not only in a research atmosphere but also in entertainment. Powell also gives a list of examples.
“Copenhagen, the 2000 Tony award winner for Best Play, is a searching meditation on quantum theory and the ethics of atomic research. Also hitting the New York stage in the past 12 months: David Auburn’s Proof, which examines the competition between father-and-daughter mathematicians, and Arthur Giron’s Moving Bodies, based on the life of famed physics eccentric Richard Feyman?Tom Stoppard’s 1994 Arcadia, a fanciful fusion of fractal geometry, historical investigation, and romance, has become a staple of community theaters around the United States.” (86)
Opening science up to the public in an interesting way makes science in the entertainment realm definitely a positive movement.
Many of the people thought of as scientists are also artists, or vise versa. James Herriot, who has written many children’s stories and a number of novels on animals, is also a veterinarian. Herriot’s book are a retelling of the events he encounters in his practice, but they are not at all dull and to the point with no extra flower, as many people might think of person of scientific mind would write. His stories are colorful and poetic which makes them loveable to all ages of people everywhere.
“Leonardo Da Vinci who was a brilliant painter was also a sculptor, an architect, and a man of science who did serious investigations into the natural and physical sciences, mathematics, mechanics, and engineering. More than 300 years before flying machines were perfected, Leonardo devised plans for prototypes of an airplane and a helicopter. His extensive studies of human anatomy were portrayed in anatomical drawings, which were among the most significant achievements of Renaissance science” ( Da Vinci ).
It’s a good thing that Leonardo Da Vinci was also a man of the arts or he would never have been able to leave behind his wonderful sketches, and that would have been devastating for both the arts and science. One of Leonardo’s paintings the ‘Mona Lisa’ is known world wide to children and adults a like. Even if a person what not able to describe what the painting looked like they would at least recognize the name. Not only did Leonardo Da Vinci paint and sculpt but he also wrote music. A Renaissance man is a person who is accomplished in many different areas, and “the term was coined to describe the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci” (Da Vinci). Another man who is known by all Americans and much of the world is Benjamin Franklin. “Benjamin Franklin was a printer, a diplomat, a scientist, an inventor, a philosopher, an educator, and a public servant. He invented the lightning rod and amazed scientists throughout the world with his experiments in electricity. He also helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution” (Franklin). Herriot, Da Vinci, and Franklin like so many of the world’s great men and women are not interested in just one area of academics. So many are poets and inventors, painters and researchers, writers and mathematicians.
It is not solely important to be an expert in one area, but almost necessary to be accomplished in as many different things as possible to truly understand the nature of anything. When schools deny children the opportunities to study art, music, and other creative outlets they are denying the children the opportunity to develop in all areas. The basic academic areas of English, history, math, and science are jam packed with all sorts of artistic opportunities. Art like science allows people to create. Writing and English allow people to express their thoughts. Music and math allow people to break down, add up and explain other areas of life. History is the greatest reflection of man kind’s art and creation throughout the years. One area of study can not make such as large impact as they can all together. It is a shame to deny anyone the opportunity to cultivate an intense amount of information, in effect limiting the impact they can make on society. If the budget does not allow for extra classes such as music and art the answer is not to eliminate these areas from the curriculum all together, but rather integrate them into other subject areas. Where would we be if the great people of our history had not been Renaissance men?
“Da Vinci, Leonardo.” Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia. CD-Rom. Compton’s
NewMedia, Inc., 1995.
“Franklin, Benjamin.” Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia. CD-Rom. Compton’s
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Kunzig, Robert. “Focus!” Discover Aug. 2000: 24-27.
Powell, Corey S. “Science Acts Out.” Discover Aug. 2000: 86-88.
Saunders, Fenella. “Avoiding the Hand of God Look at the Movies.” Discover
Aug. 2000: 11.
————. “Tower of Tetris.” Discover Aug. 2000: 18.
“Science used in Art.” ThinkQuest. Home page. 18 July, 2000