Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Art is love

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2011 at 7:15 AM

That's right, gazing at art is comparable to gazing at your loved one — so says this Gawker.com article from Sunday.

The article cites a recent study which showed paintings by John Constable and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres to randomly chosen viewers (who had little prior art knowledge of art) and charted their mental responses. Turns out, a nearly 10 percent increase in blood flow traveled to the part of the brain associated with pleasure.

Ingres Le Grande Odalisque
  • Ingres' "Le Grande Odalisque"

Smooth, luscious Romantic and Neo-Classical art are certainly good bets for pleasing people (as are naked ladies), but what about reactions to pieces that are less ... pretty?

Does a visceral, strangely bright Van Gogh portrait do it for you?
  • Does a visceral, strangely bright Van Gogh portrait do it for you?

How about a Louise Bourgeois? (OK, maybe Im cheating here.)
  • How about a Louise Bourgeois? (OK, maybe I'm cheating here.)

Velazquezs portrait of the Infante Don Carlos stops you dead in your tracks at the Prado. Really.
  • Velazquez's portrait of the Infante Don Carlos stops you dead in your tracks at the Prado. Really.

I still get a rush of blood to my pleasure parts, but that's for another time.

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