Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Old Paintings Gain a New Use

To me, art is an integral part of life and a natural expression of the collective unconscious. Some people think of art as something pretty and worthless... and some people think of art as being just one more tool for a scientific process. The National Observatory of Athens is doing just that by studying old master paintings for clues of past natural disasters:

Christos Zerefos, who led the research, said: "We're taking advantage of the attitudes of famous painters to portray real scenes they were looking at. This is the first attempt to analyse this old art in a scientific way, and tells the story of how our climate has varied naturally in the past."

The team found 181 artists who had painted sunsets between 1500 and 1900. The 554 pictures included works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Hogarth. They used a computer to work out the relative amounts of red and green in each picture, along the horizon. Sunlight scattered by airborne particles appears more red than green, so the reddest sunsets indicate the dirtiest skies.
The experiment yielded results similar to those predicted from other historical observations so this method may be used in further research with paintings from the 20th century. It all goes to prove my point that if you just leave something old around for a while it will be come valuable in unprecedented ways. And that's all I have to say about that.

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4 comments:

Joe P. said...

Hmm... don't know how I feel about this. After all, artists have been known to suffer from bouts of creativity and imagination. Might just so happen that a painter painted something that wasn't actually there at the time. I'm just saying, is all.

Veronica said...

wow...as a science nerd, that is amazing! Even if there is creative license, I like the theory.

Oh and thanks for the comment love over at the PPAurora blog. We appreciate it!

May said...

I agree that this may not be the best method of scientific investigations, but, like veronica, I 'like the theory' ^__^

Viagra Online said...

It is an unusual but interesting theory.....