We recognize the artistry of Mona Lisa's smile but is there an underlying science? The author, a neurobiologist, explains how vision works and how great painters exploit it. She offers intriguing insights on topics from optical illusions to correlation of learning disabilities with artistic skill.
Vision and Art: Biology of Seeing by Margaret S. Livingstone
In his foreword to Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone's groundbreaking Vision and Art, Nobel prize-winner David Hubel expresses the hope that, "In the future, visual neurobiology will enhance art in much the same way as a knowledge of bones and muscles has for centuries enhanced the ability of artists to portray the human body." The future begins with this book, which demonstrates that how we see art depends ultimately on the cells in our eyes and our brains. Livingstone offers a comprehensive account of the biology of vision, drawing on the history of science and her own cutting-edge discoveries. She explains lucidly how the eye and brain translate different wavelengths of light into the colors and forms of the world around us. She then turns to art and explains the science underlying various phenomena in painting, using many examples-from the mystery of the allure of the Mona Lisa to the amazing atmospheric effects of the Impressionists-to illustrate her points. Her book will arm artists with new techniques that they can use in their own craft and thrill any reader with an interest in the biology of human vision.
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