Posted on July 12, 2006 - by Khaled
The Post-impressionist dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, considered among the best painters ever, has a special kind of art that is recognizable from the first glance. Van Gogh has this chaotic touch in his paintings, indicating, may be, what’s going on in his mind. You all probably know this! So why am I talking about him now? what’s new? Well in fact I’ve read yesterday an article about him on Nature.com.
Well it says that Van Gogh was not only a great painter or an outstanding artist but also a genius Physicist! In fact a very recent mathematical analysis of Van Gogh’s paintings revealed that the patterns he was using for storms are painted in a manner that schematizes accurately real turbulences witnessed naturally in air or water swirls. Indeed Van Gogh’s art pieces have a pattern of light and dark that are closely imitating the deep mathematical structures of natural turbulent flows. This is true for many of his creations that he painted when his was suffering mental disturbances and psychotic problems that led to his suicide when he was 37.
Scientists tend to think that this is mainly due to Van Gogh’s psychotic issues that gave him the ability to represent turbulent flow with such big accuracy, as if he was understanding the physics of the phenomenon. Before he was mentally disturbed, Van Gogh was unable to retrace turbelences “correctly”, also whenever he painted under the influence of calming drugs (like Potassium Bromide) he was unable to depict flows the right way, this is obvious in his self-portrait for instance. It is amazing to know that a mentally ill genius Painter was able to represent flows whereas Scientists were unable to do so for centuries.
Digital copies of Van Gogh’s art were analysed and as a result, Kolmogorov scaling was detected. Many other “turbelent” paintings were analysed and Van Gogh seems to be the only artist that was able to detect and rerepresent turbulence flows with such mathematical accuracy and even showing a Kolmogorov scaling. Even Paintings inspired by Van Gogh’s style like The Scream painting by the norwegian painter Edward Munch, another mentally disturbed artist, don’t seem to render turbelence correctly and their light/dark probability distribution doesn’t fit in Kolmogorov’s concept.