International Journal of Art & Design Education

Art and Science: The Aesthetic education of the Emotions and Reason

Volume 20.2   2001



This paper explores the link between science and art in Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). More specifically, its aim is to clarify the relations between science as the investigation of ‘truths’ that people hold at a particular time, on the one hand, and art as carrier of these truths into the ‘emotional’ realm of the people, on the other. The goal is simple; as is the method. The goal is to provide a way of teaching the humanities based on the aesthetic.[1] The method uses the figures chosen to act as a foil to each other, so that what seems to be a parallel of contrasts between Darwin and Gauguin, is, in fact, an equilibrium of the sensual and the rational. [2] The specific point that the paper argues is this: if teaching the humanities is tied pedagogically to art, then science, as well as the other disciplines, will join the curriculum in an integral way so as to contribute to the complete education of the student: physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual. The first section of the paper develops the education of reason or mind in the life and thoughts of Charles Darwin. My remarks here will be limited primarily, but not exclusively, to his autobiography. The second part clarifies the education of the senses in the thoughts of Paul Gauguin.