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Structural intuitions : seeing shapes in art and science / Martin Kemp.

  • Kemp, Martin
  • Books

About this work


All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge, wrote Albert Einstein. In 'Structural intuitions' , a fascinating exploration of the commonalities between two seemingly disparate realms, renowned art historian Martin Kemp applies Einstein's notion both to science and to art. Kemp argues that in both fields, work begins at the intuitive level, curiosity aroused by our recognition of patterns or order. Kemp's "structural intuitions," then, are the ways we engage fundamental perceptual and cognitive mechanisms to bring order to our observed world. Through stimulating juxtaposition, Kemp considers connections between naturally occurring patterns, cognitive processes, and artistic and scientific expression, drawing on an array of examples from the Renaissance through the present. Taking a broadly historical approach, Kemp examines forms and processes such as the geometry of Platonic solids, the dynamics of growth, and the patterns of fluids in motion while placing the work of contemporary artists, engineers, and scientists in dialogue with that of visionaries such as Leonardo da Vinci and D'Arcy Thompson.


Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, [2016]

Physical description

xi, 242 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 23 cm.


Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Platonic Perceptions: The Regular Solids -- Shaped by Growth: Branches and Spirals -- Folding, Stretching, Compressing: The Engineering of Shape -- Waves, Ripples, Splashes: Fluids in Motion -- Rhetorics of the Real: Taking It on Trust.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780813937007
  • 0813937000