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Video: Van Gogh’s Starry Night Has An Unusual Connection To Physics

Vincent van Gogh is considered one of the most famous artists in history. It turns out his brush strokes created more than just beautiful paintings, some featured uncanny mathematical representations.

Van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night,” features cloudy swirls indicative of turbulence patterns that even physicists have a hard time explaining.

The patterns depicted in his iconic painting along with several others, were created while van Gogh was suffering from psychotic episodes.

“Starry Night,” for instance, was painted while the artist was staying at an insane asylum.

It’s believed that while van Gogh was under mental and emotional duress, he was able to portray on canvas what has baffled scientists for centuries.

In the 1940s, long after van Gogh’s death in 1890, a modern theory of turbulence was explained by scientist Andrei Kolmogorov.

In 2006 researchers compared the paintings to Kolmogorov’s theory of turbulence and found van Gogh’s work did show the correct scaling specifically in the luminance probability distribution.

This is seen within the swirls’ colors and brushstroke sizes.

Other artists’ work has been examined to see if they too feature the same turbulence scaling, but so far, none do.

Royce Christyn
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