A Sketch of the Universe - the artistic influence of D'Arcy Thompson

    Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - festival/exhibition


    Matthew Jarron, Curator, University of Dundee Museum Services

    D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948) was a pioneering Scottish biologist whose work had a profound impact on 20th century art.

    He was an extraordinary polymath who combined interests in biology and mathematics with classical art and literature. His ground-breaking book On Growth and Form was published in 1917 while he was a Professor at University College, Dundee (now the University of Dundee). It has since been described as “the greatest work of prose in twentieth century science”. On Growth and Form laid the foundations for the study of mathematical biology, but also provided inspiration for generations of artists. As the critic Herbert Read told Thompson, “you have built the bridge between science and art”.

    Artists featured in this Curation: David Tinker (1924–2000), David Shanks Ewart (1901–1965), George Clark Stanton (1832–1894), Marion Smith (b.1969), Henry Moore (1898–1986), Patrick Heron (1920–1999), Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975), Naum Gabo (1890–1977), Paul Nash (1889–1946), László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912–2004), William Johnstone (1897–1981), Richard Hamilton (1922–2011), Nigel Henderson (1917–1985), Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924–2005), William Turnbull (1922–2012), Victor Pasmore (1908–1998), Adrian Heath (1920–1992), Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), Le Corbusier (1887–1965), Andy Goldsworthy (b.1956), Peter Randall-Page (b.1954), Will Maclean (b.1941), Bruce Gernand (b.1949), Andy Lomas (b.1967), Mark Wright (b.1962), Alex Flett (b.1950), Lindsay Sekulowicz (b.1984), Gemma Anderson (b.1981), Macoto Murayama (b.1984), Darren McFarlane (b.1992) and Ray Byrne (b.1961)
    Event titleA Sketch of the Universe - the artistic influence of D'Arcy Thompson
    Event typeExhibition
    LocationUnited KingdomShow on map