What happens in our brains when we see artwork that we find beautiful? Why do we react this way, and what does it mean? Scientists in the emerging field of neuroaesthetics are probing what it is about art that moves us, using technologies that allow us to study the brain’s response in astounding detail. Their insights are providing us with a new way to look at art and the mind. This World Science Festival program brings together leading researchers in the field of neuroaesthetics, along with the dynamic painter and sculptor, Matthew Ritchie, to explore the power of visual art and the biology behind it.
Admission to the lecture is free with museum admission (pay what you wish).
Art HistorianDavid Freedberg is best known for his work related to psychological responses to art—particularly for his studies of iconoclasm and censorship. He is now devoting a substantial portion of his attention to collaborations with neuroscientists working in the fields of vision, movement, and emotion.
Painter, Sculptor, Digital Artist Matthew Ritchie is a painter, sculptor and digital artist. His work combines science, architecture, history, and the dynamics of culture to explore the idea of information, and is featured in the collections of numerous institutions, including MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum. In 2001, Time magazine listed him as one of its 100 innovators for the new millenium.
Art CuratorLuke Syson received his BA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, where he also studied for three years in the Ph.D. program, with a focus on ruler portraiture in 15th-century Milan, Ferrara, and Mantua.
Edward A. Vessel
NeuroscientistEdward Vessel is an internationally recognized expert on neuroaesthetics. His research combines brain imaging with behavioral and computational approaches to study how individuals are moved by, and get pleasure from, visual experiences. He has been invited to speak on his work to professional and lay audiences at conferences and art museums across the U.S. and in Europe.