Eliane Strosberg, who holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the Free University of Brussels, enjoyed a successful career as an international management consultant. She was also a research fellow at Harvard and has worked in the research laboratory of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Strosberg was cofounder of the cultural organization Rencontres Art et Science; her book Art and Science (Abbeville), produced in cooperation with UNESCO, was translated into several languages.
An abundantly illustrated history of the dynamic interaction between the arts and sciences, and how it has shaped our world
Today, art and science are often defined in opposition to each other: one involves the creation of individual aesthetic objects, and the other the discovery of general laws of nature. Throughout human history, however, the boundaries have been less clearly drawn: knowledge and artifacts have often issued from the same source, the head and hands of the artisan. And artists and scientists have always been linked, on a fundamental level, by their reliance on creative thinking.
Art and Science is the only book to survey the vital relationship between these two fields of endeavor in its full scope, from prehistory to the present day. Individual chapters explore how science has shaped architecture in every culture and civilization; how mathematical principles and materials science have underpinned the decorative arts; how the psychology of perception has spurred the development of painting; how graphic design and illustration have evolved in tandem with methods of scientific research; and how breakthroughs in the physical sciences have transformed the performing arts. Some 265 illustrations, ranging from masterworks by Dürer and Leonardo to the dazzling vistas revealed by fractal geometry, complement the wide-ranging text.
This new edition of Art and Science has been updated to cover the ongoing convergence of art and technology in the digital age, a convergence that has led to the emergence of a new type of creator, the “cultural explorer” whose hybrid artworks defy all traditional categorization. It will make thought-provoking reading for students and teachers, workers in creative and technical fields, and anyone who is curious about the history of human achievement.
This wide-ranging, intellectually provocative study argues that artists of Jewish descent have been especially devoted to the human figure on account of their cultural heritage. Abundantly illustrated in full color.
In the twentieth century, the avant-garde movements promoted abstraction and formal experimentation in the visual arts, often dispensing with the human form altogether. Yet many artists of Jewish descent resisted this trend and continued to depict the human figure with sympathy and understanding. Few of them portrayed overtly Jewish themes, but—as Eliane Strosberg argues in this thought-provoking volume—their persistent devotion to the human figure was itself a reflection of their Jewishness. Though their individual styles were diverse, they all used the human figure as a means of communicating, in secular terms, aspects of their Jewish intellectual heritage, such as their humanistic values, passion for social justice, and opposition to the nihilism that underlay so much of modern culture. For this reason, their work may be said to constitute an ethical, if not an aesthetic, art movement, which Strosberg aptly dubs “Human Expressionism.”
Strosberg begins her highly readable text with an overview of Jewish tradition that illuminates the mindset of many Jewish artists. She also provides a concise history of Jewish art from Genesis to the Enlightenment, in which she demonstrates that figurative art has actually had a place in Judaism for thousands of years, despite the Second Commandment’s prohibition of graven images. However, Strosberg devotes the greater part of her study to a comparative analysis of those artists who fall under the rubric of Human Expressionism. Though her scope is impressively broad, ranging from Camille Pissarro to George Segal, she pays particular attention to the immigrant painters of the École de Paris, like Soutine and Modigliani; the American social realists, like Ben Shahn and Raphael Soyer; and the masters of the postwar School of London, like Lucian Freud and R. B. Kitaj.
Illustrated with more than one hundred full-color reproductions of works by the artists under discussion, The Human Figure and Jewish Culture is an essential addition to any library of art history or Judaica.