What Did Van Gogh Know About Quantum Physics?

Did Van Gogh's paintings foreshadow the convergence of quantum physics and general relativity? Learn more about the possible connection between his art and these two fundamental theories of physics.

In the vast realm of physics, a profound mystery persists – the incompatibility of two brilliant theories: general relativity and quantum mechanics. While these theories excel independently, the delicate art of merging them has eluded even the legendary Albert Einstein. However, in the midst of this scientific conundrum, an unexpected visionary emerged: Vincent Van Gogh.

At first glance, Vincent Van Gogh’s swirling paintings may seem far removed from physics. But look closer, and his works reveal an improbable link between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Van Gogh Brushstrokes: From Quantum Chaos to General Relativity

Examining Van Gogh’s paintings up close, one notices hundreds of vivid, erratic brushstrokes. Different colors intersect and collide at odd angles, reminiscent of the bizarre behaviour of subatomic quantum particles. This seeming chaos mirrors the quantum world, where order amazingly emerges from randomness.

Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. Saint Rémy, June 1889 | Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest.

Through his use of colour, he tells us that light is not a continuous wave, but rather a series of discrete particles called photons.  They come with different energy levels, which correspond to different colours showing the quantum nature of light

Yet, step back and embrace the full picture, and Van Gogh’s genius unfolds in a revelation. His turbulent strokes blend into harmonious scenes echoing general relativity’s cosmic order. From swirling galaxies to starry nights, his paintings transcend the fragmented canvas, revealing a serene cosmic dance guided by the principles of General Relativity.

Through his use of perspective, he tells us that gravity bends spacetime. This means that the way we perceive the world around us is not always accurate. Van Gogh’s paintings often feature distorted perspectives that seem to defy logic, providing a visual representation of the relativistic nature of spacetime.

Van Gogh Celestial Symphony

Van Gogh’s artistic vision offers a unique bridge between the enigmatic realms of quantum chaos and the grand forces of General Relativity. In each brushstroke, he mirrors the interplay of the quantum world, akin to the small strokes visible up close, as well as General Relativity, akin to a bigger picture seen from afar.

His paintings become a symphony of cosmic proportions, encapsulating the mysteries of the universe in vibrant hues. They suggest that within nature’s randomness, order awaits discovery. We must simply adopt an enlightened perspective to unveil the hidden harmony.

What profound inspiration compelled his genius? We may never fully know. But Van Gogh’s unexpected mastery, uniting concepts that stump even Einstein, reminds us that wonders await at the junction of art and science.

Quantum Soul
Quantum Soul

Science evangelist, Art lover