"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need.
The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it."

-Louis I. Kahn, Architect

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

My portrait of Prof. Stephen Hawking

It is not my habit to comment on my paintings. They should "speak" for themselves. I will however give here some clues: "Big Ben" represents our "newtonian" (classical) time but if you look closely its time is... wrong! It is affected by the nearby galaxy's black hole (Einstein's "General relativity"). The "Event horizon" here is replacing our classical traditional "horizon."
The galaxy's black hole cannot be visible but if you look at the real painting, the canvas is locally dented as would our space-time when considered as a four-dimensional "brane".

"All of my life, I have been fascinated by the big questions that face us, and have tried to find scientific answers to them. If, like me, you have looked at the stars, and tried to make sense of what you see, you too have started to wonder what makes the universe exist. "
— Stephen W. Hawking


  1. The Clarke-Leibniz correspondance: an England v. Germany football match in the field of philosophy, science and religon!

    I decided to use Big Ben to symbolize the "Newtonian time" with a catch: the time is wrong, being affected by the nearby "Black Hole" (a consequence of Einstein's General Relativity and well demonstrated by Prof. Hawking), I had also in mind Leibniz's reference to a "clock" in his controversy with Newton).

    This was the so-called "Leibniz-Clarke correspondence": a scientific, theological and philosophical debate conducted by epistolary means in 1715-16 between German thinker Gottfried Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, an English supporter of Isaac Newton.

    This "Leibniz-Clarke correspondence" was in fact a controversy about the nature of God and his relation to the physical world. Both accuse the other of opinions which are derogatory of God and likely to lead to atheism (a crime in those days). Leibniz accused Newton of making God an incompetent craftsman/watchmaker. He wrote: "According to their (newtonians, note) doctrine, God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time, otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion." If Newton’s God needs to intervene to prevent the universe losing energy and stop the solar system degenerating (known today as the 2d law of Entropy), then, says Leibniz, he must have been an incompetent creator, as the divine watchmaker surely has no need to clean his watch every so often. this view diminishes the greatness of God, and will lead to atheism. Clarke replies that all this is part of God’s plan and has been foreseen, and that a true king actively watches over his people; by making God remote and redundant, says Clarke, Leibniz’ conception of God will lead to atheism...
    Since Einstein and Hawking we can consider this controversy settled and call the match a draw ;-)

  2. I meant the "2d law of thermodynamics", known as entropy...

  3. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01387/2008-clock_1387958i.jpg

    This is the "Corpus Christi" clock inaugurated last year by Prof. Stephen Hawking, a clock without hands otherwise called "time eater"...

    This is Prof. Hawking commenting on the "Doomsday Clock" whose hands are being moved closer to... midnight, i.e. a nuclear Armageddon. (info thanks to my bro.)

    I SWEAR I wasn't aware of any of this when I started doing his portrait!