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Born in 1596, Descartes is considered by many to be the Father of Modern Philosophy. He was also a great mathematician who contributed greatly to algebra in his Cartesian coordinate system invention (Clarke 7)…
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Rene Descartes and Isaac Newton Rene Descartes Rene Descartes was a renowned philosopher and from France. Bornin 1596, Descartes is considered by many to be the Father of Modern Philosophy. He was also a great mathematician who contributed greatly to algebra in his Cartesian coordinate system invention (Clarke 7). This invention in particular was quit influential in the mathematical revolution that allowed the use of geometric shapes in the expression of algebraic equations mostly in the 2 dimension coordinate system (21). Descartes was also the man credited with the philosophy of dualism which suggests that the mind controls the body and the body can also influence the rational mind (26).
Descartes’ inventions in philosophy and mathematics had considerable influence on the art of the 17th century. Previous accounts of the mind-body relationship had mostly been unidirectional, in that, people believed that either the body controlled the mind or vice versa. With Descartes’ dualism concept, people could now think of the relationship between mind and body as being two-way. Artists began to perceive the objects of their drawings as having a body and a mind that affected each other (94). Descartes’ discovery of the Cartesian coordinate system that enabled people to use geometric shapes in the expression of algebraic equations in 2-dimensions also impacted the world of art. Before Descartes’ discoveries, artists created their work without using geometric shapes and this only made it hard for them to achieve multiple dimensions in their artwork. However, with Descartes’ discovery, they could now use geometrical shapes to create 2-dimensional perspectives in their drawings and other artwork (105).
Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is inarguably one of the most celebrated inventors in the history of mankind. He was a mathematician, physicist and astronomer from England. His most notable work lay in science and mechanics especially after his discovery of the laws of motion (Tiner 5). He enlightened people about the relationships between motion and force. He also played an instrumental role in the field of prisms. He is credited with discovering the source of colors (35). His discoveries had a profound effect on the thinking of his time, especially in relation to art.
Prior to Newton’s discovery of the phenomenon of colors, people used to think that a mixture of light and darkness is what produced color. Newton, through his prism experiments, was able to determine and prove that light was the only element responsible for color. Various artists were impressed by Newton’s new discovery which allowed them to conceptually arrange colors around a circle’s circumference (39). This in effect allowed them to arrange primary colors converse to their complementary colors. This way, artists were able to produce and enhance optical contrast in their drawings, which they could not have done before Newton’s discovery. Apart from the color systems, Newton’s law of motion also had a great impact on how people perceived how things move and what made them move the way they did (57). Before Newton’s discoveries, people did not know that the force of gravity affected the motion of objects, including people. The discovery enabled artists to present their drawings to reflect how their motion related to the force of gravity. This also enabled artists to make drawings that were proportionate in terms of balance.
Works Cited
Clarke, Desmond. Descartes: A Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
Tiner, John Hudson. Isaac Newton: Inventor, Scientist, and Teacher. Fenton, MI: Mott Media, 1975. Print. Read More
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