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Van Gogh Painted Turbulence 76

rangeva writes "Nature is reporting that Van Gogh works have a pattern of light and dark that closely follows the mathematical structure of turbulent flow. From the article: 'Vincent van Gogh is known for his chaotic paintings and similarly tumultuous state of mind. Now a mathematical analysis of his works reveals that the stormy patterns in many of his paintings are uncannily like real turbulence, as seen in swirling water or the air from a jet engine.'"
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Van Gogh Painted Turbulence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:27AM (#15690029)
    Somewhat interesting but not nearly as interesting as the theory that an eye problem or digitalis poisoning was the main cause of his use of color and the halo's he painted around light sources. See -> ite/VanGogh.html []
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @08:24AM (#15690228)
    Turbulence is derived from the Latin turbinis which means vortex. The same name also gave way to turbine - a phrase first used by Claude Burdin to describe the aforementioned device in 1828.

    Van Gogh lived from 1853 until 1890, so man-made turbines existed during his lifetime, as well as the more natural effects he will have seen that others have mentioned.

    Ergo, the entire point of the article is moot, he painted what he saw and understood, that - believe it or not - is what artists do. Why people have to waste their time trying to comprehend why Van Gogh painted turbulence is beyond me...
  • Re:Intuited? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kikibobo ( 185258 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @08:26AM (#15690234)
    What he intuited, it would seem, is Kolmogorov scaling. Other artists, gifted artists, tried to render turbulence, but their renderings did not exhibit Kolmogorov scaling. So, that's pretty interesting -- his paintings manifest a deep theoretical result, that other paintings which try to capture the same phenomenon, do not. It's reasonable to suggest he intuited something pretty deep that others did not.
  • by ab0mb88 ( 541388 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @10:09AM (#15690836)
    Did it occur to you that perhaps part of the reason that you like Van Gogh may have something to do with the fact that he portrayed a natural phenomenon perfectly? The human brain is capable of seeing things that are right or wrong that you may not be able to consciously notice. The math described may be why you like this art.
  • Pollock and fractals (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @02:55PM (#15692899)

    This article reminds me of a similar study done on Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, which exhibit the characteristics of fractals. Pollock painted in the '50s, before fractal geometry was developed. Works by other artists, who imitated Pollock's technique, do not have the same qualities. Both Van Gogh and Pollock seem to have been able to perceive the mathematical underpinnings of the natural world in an intuitive way, and could communicate that perception through their art.

    Some more info [] (PDF warning).

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