Work of Art

Art is body of work different from the structure of science.

Science is working on the art of mathematical models.

There are artists who are also scientists.

There are scientists who are also artist.


What is art got to do with science?

Do scientists play the role of artists or vice versa?

How much these different roles contribute to each other’s body of work?

Is there a symbiotic relationship?


These questions are extremely profound and to arrive at answers we need to set the plethora of assumptions to prove a hypothesis that can convince us as a vocal community.


We can then establish the equation. An equation is a combination of variables and constants. It’s the relationships between these parameters that matters. These stacks of equations in mathematical model establish the functioning of the physical model representing the natural world in its proper perspective.

Mathematics is not an easy subject. Though it simply captures the complexity of phenomena around us but the simplicity of maths is not everybody cup of coffee. Many of us love the smell and the aroma of coffee but not the caffeine in the composition. We work on the numbers and we are at it in our everyday life but when it comes to solving the complex equations constructed by the rules of integrations and differentiation we are confounded. There is a magic behind the logic of mathematical equations and the magic comes from the work of art and looking at the beauty and bounty of nature.


Science is nothing but an artistic representation of the logical working of our world and the magical manifestation is in the work of nature.


The hypothesis is built in the pairing the contest and setting comparison between the two greatest artists and scientists of 17th century. There were visible contrast and there were invisible collaboration, and this duality composed a new act of creation.


Leonardo as artist was also an inventor.

Leibniz as mathematicians was also a poet.

Michelangelo was also an architect.

Newton was also an author.


How did their creative side complemented to their analytical thoughts and the vice versa is an important question attempted to be answered through the dissection of their anatomy of work and their structure of living.


Calculus finds it application from economics to engineering to medicines to physics to biology to astronomy. It is used to develop mathematical models capture the phenomena of physical world for establishing a logical solution. Calculus calculates the changes between values that are related by functions. These functions have a limit.

It was in the 17th century there was a battle going on between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz on the work of calculus.

Newton was an English physicist and mathematician.

Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician.

Leibniz discovered the infinitesimal calculus…a branch of mathematics that deals with integrations, differentiation and limits of functions.  Though Newton is more known for his theory of gravity and law of motion but his solid work on calculus galvanized his theory and law that defines our hold and movement on this planet.

The mystery of who discovered the subject of calculus.

We keep calculating.

Two Mathematicians who have changed the course of history with their body of work but one name remains on top of our mind is Newton. Why not the other? The question was hotly debated for long. Though it got settled in favour of Newton but the settlement was not full and final perhaps few things remained to be satisfactorily answered. It is not that the subject got revealed suddenly but it was evolved and builds over a period of work and both contributed to the development of the body of work. The crunch of the debate resided in the year of publication not who was the first to discover the logic in the magic of calculus and differential equations.


Though the work of Newton on calculus was towards the working of physics and that of Leibniz was that of mathematics, primarily to the field of geometry.


Newton published his findings in 1687 where as Leibniz had already published his work in 1684. Initially the credit on the wonderful work of calculus went to Leibniz till fresh evidences that were gathered and later it was corroborated with body of work captured in Newton’s old manuscripts. Unlike other rivalries they communicated with each other and shared their pieces of work and expanded each other’s body of discovery. Perhaps it is academic to discuss who the first to discovery the subject was rather than seeing it from a collaborative perspective. It was the healthy contest and subtle collaboration that led to the discovery of calculus.

It was the Royal Society, the epitome of top thinkers who governed the way world of scientific community get their idea authenticated and their body of work gets augmented. Newton was not just a part of that society but he was the head whereas Leibniz never belonged to that society. In 1715, Royal Society declared the verdict in favour Newton for the discovery of calculus. And also the work of Leibniz got denounced for having picked the threads from Newton’s work and constructed his own fabric looking like Newton.


Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarotti were two of the greatest artists of all time, and it was the time of Renaissance Italy. Renaissance…a rebirth was a cultural movement that started in Florence during the mid of 14th century, and later spread across the length and breadth of Europe to end in the 17th century. It was an ushering of change in art and culture, life and learning, thinking and working. They were equally competitive while it came to the body of work and strongly contested to be ahead of each other.


If we speak of Da Vinci’s two greatest work of “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” then we have to speak of Michelangelo’s two greatest work of “David” and “The Sistine Chapel”.


Even after centuries have gone by we are still at awe and wonder of the body of work of these two geniuses, Mona Lisa and David remains to capture the same magic it had done during the 17th century Art Renaissance.  As we try to observe and analyze closely we discover so many new dimensions to these masterpieces. It was almost during the same period that both came out with their masterpieces. The presence of each other work silently contributed to the development of each other’s artistic craft.


These works represented the ying-yang of great artistic work, the man in form of David and the woman in the form of Mona Lisa.

The sculptor. David was epitome of strength and muscular prowess.

The portrait. Mona Lisa is epitome of sublime and subtle beauty.


It was perhaps the gender equality in the work of art. The sculpted statue and the crafted canvas depicted the contours of physical composition to colourful disposition.


Though before they become a fierce competitor, Michelangelo the much younger of the two had picked up finer nuances of Leonardo’s work of art, still they continued to remain in friendly terms inspite of both being different personalities. Leonardo was polished and displayed sophistication in his disposition. Michelangelo was coarse and displayed clumsiness in his disposition. These attributes had nothing to do with their body of work. It is just that they loved to the way they were and never shied away from presenting the natural self while nurturing their nature of artistic work.


Leonardo Da Vinci was not just working on art but had his mind was working on diverse subject from engineering to medicines to weapon designs to mathematics. Michelangelo Buonarotti was not just working on art but had his mind working on multiple topics from sculpturing to architecture to poetry. Though Leonardo is also known for invention and scientific work Michelangelo was primarily known for his great work as sculptor. Michelangelo was concentrated and crazy on doing his work driven by holding on the thrust of doing while Leonardo was driven by curiosity of exploring and creatively engaged derived out of inspiration.

Both derived their inspiration and insights from the vast volume of Greek and Roman work of art.

Both were bachelors and devoted time for fostering their body of work rather than pursuing their work in building family and relationships.

Both had dissected human body but for a different purpose.


Leonardo did analyze the anatomy for a better understanding of human psychology to capture the subtle emotions that he wanted to project through his body of work.


Michelangelo did analyze the anatomy for a better understanding of human physiology for crafting the contours of human body.


Though they did branch out into other subjects but their main stay remained in painting only the platform changed. In terms of art work, Michelangelo worked on marbles for sculpturing and Leonardo worked on canvases for painting. For Michelangelo it was playing with forms, shapes and volumes. For Leonardo it was playing with light, color and texture. Since Leonardo didn’t have any work on sculptor, the comparison that could be drawn was primarily in the work of painting. When it came to managing the finance and making the most of money, Michelangelo made huge gain in getting the commissions for his work while Leonardo was less aggressive and had lesser money in his kitty. On the contrary Leonardo lived his live copiously with grace whereas Michelangelo lived his live moderately with modesty.

It is widely perceived that scientists are rule bound and artist break the rules set by society. Rationality drives the scientific community and creativity moves the artistic community. These are not community in black and white; there is silent chuck of grey binding these two clear spaces. Neuroscience has established the fact that we use both sides of our brain while doing any form of work and scientists and artists are merely wearing different hats to accomplish a bigger feat of work.


It is meeting of mind and heart.

It is matching of nature and nurture.


It is connecting the divergent thinking of an artists and convergent thinking of a scientists.

It is deftly working between the rarefied dimensions of rational analysis and creative imagination.


Scientists like Newton to Leibniz visualized the different aspects of invention in the world of reality before they could form the mathematical models to clinically establish the equations of life.


Artists like Leonardo to Michelangelo creatively played with the different facets of the natural world to derive the magical inspiration, sketching the landscape in the world of imagination.


Nihar R Pradhan



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