Pretty bones; hollow phrase

LIFE magazine may be no more, but the LIFE website still has lovely archival eye candy including these b/w photos, circa 1950, of skeletons and bones. Says the website,

Seen in a certain light, and photographed for LIFE by the great Andreas Feininger — a craftsman with the eye of a scientist and the heart of an artist (or vice versa) — the bones of animals as varied in size, behavior, and temperament as fish, bats, birds, elephants, hummingbirds, and humans are terribly eloquent, raising questions about life, death, and what we ultimately leave behind. (source)

I find the textual juxtaposition of art and science here fascinating – it’s a ubiquitous, perhaps even de rigeur juxtaposition, in the context of anatomical art. But (like the bones!) it’s fundamentally hollow. What is the supposed difference between the “heart/eye of an artist,” and the same organ in a scientist? The “or vice versa” aside makes it clear the copywriter has no clear difference in mind – should we? Is the line mere formalist obiesance to a categorical worldview, a hipsterish allusion to CP Snow? Does it invoke an “Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome – one assumes the art/science distinction must mean something because people constantly say it does, even when the distinction is barely sketched, much less theorized? And what role is the “craftsman” bit playing, since “craft” is generally derided as neither art nor science?

Oh, who cares. There are pretty pictures of bones at the link!

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