“This week marked Vincent van Gogh’s 162nd birthday. The always-illuminating Maria Popova celebrated in her Brainpickings newsletter by bringing back studies linking van Gogh’s celebrated 1889 painting The Starry Night — where light and clouds flow in turbulent swirls on the night sky — with studies of turbulence in fluid flows….
“The painter’s magnificent brushwork made (intuitive?) use of a property known as luminance, a measure of the relative brightness between different points. The eye is more sensitive to luminance change than to color change, meaning we respond more promptly to changes in brightness than in colors….
“Van Gogh’s creations during his most turbulent period mirrored nature’s turbulent flows, as if his mind somehow tapped into a universal archetype where luminous becomes numinous — and the painter’s brush and nature’s brush become one and the same.”
By Marcelo Gleiser,
Theoretical physicist and cosmologist; professor of natural philosophy, physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College; and co-founder of NPR’s 13.7 cosmos and culture blog.
H/T Lorna Wood
NOTE: “Scientific Mysteries” headline credit to Maria Popova’s Brainpickings newsletter