While studying stars with the Hubble telescope in 2004, a group of scientists saw eddy's of dust and gas around a star that reminded them of Van Gogh's work. After studying these eddy's and comparing them to Starry Night- they were able to realize that he was able to visually express with paint a remarkably high level of scientifically measured proficiency.
Natalya St. Clair, author of The Art of Mental Calculation, addresses this subject in a short Ted ed video here: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-unexpected-math-behind-van-gogh-s-starry-night-natalya-st-clair
The intersection of Science and Art reassures me that many school curriculum's would benefit from teaching the two together. Jackson Pollocks paintings and fractals; and Fibonacci and Da Vinci to name a few. The impressionists masterfully worked on the study of light and it's motion. They manipulated paint on a canvas in a way that exposed the mechanics of our brain. They tricked us into seeing cascading energy and light as it radiates, moves and fades away. They created a dynamic experience out of static objects. It's wonderful magic. I hope you enjoy the Ted ed video.
I'll leave you with a quote from Rothko:
'A painting is not about an experience. It is an experience.'