Sunday, November 24, 2019

George Washington Carver: The Convergence of Art and Science

Many people were surprised that George Washington Carver painted flowers as well as studied them scientifically. But to him, art and science were both ways of approaching the truth, and there was no dissonance between them. Here is a scene from Linda O. McMurray’s book, George Washington Carver: Scientist and Symbol, page 302:

            [Carver] reached across the table for a tiny green herb. The soil still clung to its threadlike roots.
            “All these years,” the artist continued, looking at the weed in his hand, “I have been doing one thing. The poet Tennyson was working at the same job. This is the way he expresses it:

Flower in the crannied wall
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but it I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is...

            “Tennyson was seeking Truth. That is what the scientist is seeking. That is what the artist is seeking; his writings, his weaving, his music, his pictures are just the expressions of his soul in his search for Truth.
            “My paintings are my soul’s expression of its yearnings and questions in its desire to understand the work of the Great Creator.”

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