The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences visited the San Antonio Museum of Art on July 27 on a special tour to learn about how science and art converge.
During the tour, the students were split into three smaller groups led by docents who explained how chemistry, geometry, mathematics, physics, and optics meet fine art.
On the tour led by the docent Fred, we learned about how artists utilize materials and technology to create their works. For instance, he contrasted how during the Roman period, the statues were made out of marble while the Egyptian statue was made of a stone material which affected the amount of detail that the artist could create in the statue.
We visited many of the museum’s collections including their Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World, Art of the Ancient Americas, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, American Art, European Art, and Oceanic Art.
In the section on American Art, we learned about was the concept of trompe l’oeil which means “fool the eye” in French. Fred explained that in the painting Sportman’s Trophy by American artist Alexander Pope you can see that the hunting tools appear 3D which is an example of a trompe l’oeil painting.
When we visited the Asian Art collection, we saw a sand mandala.
According to the Museum, “it was created in 2001 by Drepung Loseling Monks of Karnataka, South India as part of A Buddhist ritual to promote healing. It took hours of work to meticulously place the colored sands in the right spaces. Typically, mandalas are destroyed following the healing ritual. However, the 14th Dalai Lama allowed for this mandala to be preserved in an effort to promote peace and harmony. This is the only Tibetan Medicine Buddha mandala on display in America!”
Fred explained that the artist went out of their way to put red and green together.
“If you look at the color wheel, you can see the artist knew about color theory,” he explained to our group. “The art is also exciting different receptors so it’s more interesting and has more stability.”
He also asked us to think about the colors of art we see in a hospital setting.
“You’ll notice that you won’t see a lot of red in a hospital. the colors are carefully chosen to be calming so if you see art it will be more of a blue hue,” he said.
Thu Duong, a student in the Cell Biology, Genetics, and Molecular Medicine discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program, said that she really enjoyed the tour.
“I learned that there is a strong relationship between art and science. As someone who has a passion for both art and science, I never saw that relationship,” she said. “It was very interesting for me.”
Keep in mind that entrance to the San Antonio Museum of Art is free for anyone with a UT Health San Antonio badge so be sure to take advantage of your membership and visit the San Antonio Museum of Art’s newest exhibit on superheroes called “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder” which will be at the museum until September 1.
Also save the date for their next superhero-themed tour Art Party: Supermen Wonderwomen which will be on Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. There will be live music and drinks available for purchase at the museum. Entrance is free by showing your UT Health San Antonio ID badge at the admission counter.