Science meets art in chemistry professor’s lecture – now online
Last week, Professor Andy Abbott from our Department of Chemistry, gave a public lecture at the Royal Society of Chemistry, discussing the science behind painting. In his talk ‘From test tube to Turner - the role of the chemist in art’, Andy explained the science behind colour and how this has affected the history of painting.
From the earliest days of cave paintings, artists used naturally occurring pigments but the Renaissance brought chemists (and alchemists) who could create new colours, and now paints are produced on an industrial scale. These developments have affected how artists have been able to portray the world and consequently how people have viewed the world.
The talk was given in The Chemistry Centre, which is the RSC’s part of Burlington House, a magnificent building which originally dates from the 17th century. Since 1874 Burlington House has been home to five learned societies, including not only the chemists but also the Royal Academy of Arts, so it perfectly encapsulates the coming-together of art and science which underpinned Andy’s lecture. Andy himself is a keen amateur artist, a passion he inherited from his grandfather.
A full video of the fascinating hour-long talk is now available to view online. Here a couple of examples of the slides included: