Japan Art and Isaac Newton (Rays and Rainbows)

Japan Art and Isaac Newton (Rays and Rainbows)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese ukiyo-e prints in this article focus on sun rays and a rainbow. Isaac Newton studied a wealth of areas throughout his lifetime. Accordingly, he was an esteemed alchemist, astronomer, mathematician, and physicist who blessed this world.

Albert Einstein said: “No one must think that Newton’s great creation can be overthrown in any real sense by this [Theory of Relativity] or by any other theory. His clear and wide ideas will forever retain their significance as the foundation on which our modern conceptions of physics have been built.”

The first print by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) is like a mirage because the original focuses on a kabuki scene. However, through the prism of art, creativity, and imagination – and time and space – it is like a scientist writing new ideas in bygone days when the eye observed similar to Newton.

The Smithsonian writes: “By scientifically establishing our visible spectrum (the colors we see in a rainbow), Newton laid the path for others to experiment with color in a scientific manner. His work led to breakthroughs in optics, physics, chemistry, perception, and the study of color in nature.”

In the second print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, it is easy to imagine a young Newton utilizing the splendor of nature and formulating new ideas.

Newton wrote: “Do not the Rays of Light which fall upon Bodies, and are reflected or refracted, begin to bend before they arrive at the Bodies; and are they not reflected, refracted, and inflected, by one and the same Principle, acting variously in various Circumstances?”

The genius of Newton will continue throughout the ages – similar to Aristotle and Einstein – irrespective of new ideas, inventions, and scientific advancements.

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