Skip to main content

Art according to Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Albert Einstein (1929) [6, p. 12].


For Einstein “arts and sciences are branches of the same tree” and “we do art when we communicate through forms whose connections are not accessible to the conscious mind yet we intuitively recognize them as something meaningful”. A sense of beauty, imagination and the love for precision stimulated the creativity of the great scientist. “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. … I see my life in terms of music”. He played violin and piano; he was particularly fond of Bach and Mozart. Special relativity had an influence on Cubism and especially on Futurism; general relativity infected for a century, like a virus, thousands of researchers all over the world.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Let me take my cue from this statement by Einstein to point out that Michelson wrote the following: “I venture to predict that in the not very distant future there may be a color art analogous to the art of sound—a color music” [12, p. 2]. Now it is possible to enjoy this new art form foreseen by Michelson, for instance watching the video Effetto note by Giuseppe Caglioti, Goran Ramme and Tatiana V. Tchouvileva (2004) at It shows the analogue self-portrait of several musical compositions, obtained using the analogue chromophonoscope made at the Politecnico di Milano within the Musicolor Project. For more information, see [5].

  2. 2.

    Private communication from Adalberto Giazotto (2016).

  3. 3.

    The structure of these Inventionen, and especially the harmony inherent in the chords of (simultaneous) notes belonging to the different voices, has most likely influenced the great film director Sergei M. Eisenstein, the inventor of the “vertical montage”, which correlates synchronously moving images and music.

  4. 4.

    See [3].


  1. 1.

    Al-Khalili, J., McFadden, J.: Life on the Edge—The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. Bantam Press, London (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Banney, D., Caglioti, G.: Symmetry reduction and ambiguity in music. Symmetry Cult Sci 28(1), 105–116 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Caglioti, G.: Simmetrie Infrante Nella Scienza e Nell’arte, CLUP, Milano (1983); English Edition, The Dynamics of Ambiguity. Springer, Heidelberg (1995)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Caglioti, G., Benedek, G., Cocchiarella, L.: The perception of ambiguous images as a quantum information process. Ist. Lomb. (Rend. Sci.) 148, 35–50 (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Caglioti, G., Marcon, M., Tchouvileva, T., Della Ragione, R.: A Natural Form of Technological Art. In: Electronic Imaging and The Visual Arts, pp. 38–42, EVA 2016, Florence (2016)

  6. 6.

    Calaprice, A. (ed.): The Ultimate Quotable Einstein. Princeton University Press, Princeton (2011)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Dalla Chiara, M.L., Giuntini, R., Luciani, A.R., Negri, E.: Dall’informazione quantistica alla musica, Aracne, Rome (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Einstein, A.: Physics and reality. In: Einstein, A., Out of My Later Years, pp. 59–97, Philosophical Library, New York (1950)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Einstein, A.: Notes for an autobiography. The Saturday review of literature, 26 November, 9–12 (1949). Rpt. In: Schilpp, P.A. (ed.) Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist, The Library of Living Philosophers, vol. VII (1949), pp. 1–95. Open Court Publishing, Chicago (1998)

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Halpern, P.: Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat. Basic Books, New York (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Marinetti, F.T.: Il manifesto del FUTURISMO (1909). Eng. trans. The futurist manifesto. In: James J. (ed.) Three Intellectuals in Politics, pp. 179–184. Pantheon, New York (1960)

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Michelson, A.A.: Light Waves and Their Uses. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1902)

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Rovelli, C.: Seven brief lessons on physics. In: Carnell, S., Segre, E. (ed.), English Trans. Allen Lane, London (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Schrödinger, E.: What Is Life? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1944)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Giuseppe Caglioti.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Caglioti, G. Art according to Albert Einstein. Lett Mat Int 5, 49–53 (2017).

Download citation


  • Albert Einstein
  • General relativity
  • Gravitational waves
  • Science
  • Imagination
  • Art
  • Music