Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing

Overview


Now in paperback, this groundbreaking study by Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone explores the inner workings of vision, demonstrating that how we see art depends ultimately on the cells in our eyes and our brains.

In Vision and Art, Livingstone explains how great painters fool the brain: why Mona Lisa’s smile seems so mysterious, Monet’s Poppy Field appears to sway in the breeze, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie blinks like the ...

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Overview


Now in paperback, this groundbreaking study by Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone explores the inner workings of vision, demonstrating that how we see art depends ultimately on the cells in our eyes and our brains.

In Vision and Art, Livingstone explains how great painters fool the brain: why Mona Lisa’s smile seems so mysterious, Monet’s Poppy Field appears to sway in the breeze, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie blinks like the lights of Times Square, and Warhol’s Electric Chair pulses with current.

Drawing on history and her own cutting- edge discoveries, Livingstone offers intriguing insights, from explanations of common optical illusions, to speculations on the correlation of learning disabilities with artistic skill. By skillfully bridging the space between science and art, Vision and Art will both arm artists and designers 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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harvard Medical School neurobiology professor Margaret S. Livingstone explains how great artists exploit the functions of the human eye and brain in Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing. Livingstone, whose biological explanation of why the Mona Lisa's smile appears enigmatic stirred much interest when it appeared in the New York Times, here offers a detailed explanation of how elements like perspective, luminance, color mixing, shading and chiaroscuro produce certain effects in art works. She discusses da Vinci's use of contrast, the illusory three-dimensionality of Impressionist paintings and why Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie gives the impression of motion. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This book is for anyone who has wondered why the Mona Lisa's smile is so haunting or how artists manage to give depth or motion to a two-dimensional piece of art. Not only does Livingstone (neurobiology, Harvard Medical Sch.) clearly explain these things but she also shows how vision works from eye to brain, and she provides fun experiments to illustrate her observations. The book is lavishly illustrated (150 illustrations, 100 in color), with excellent captions that can stand alone for those who prefer to browse. But it is well worth reading the whole book. The practical examples explaining how vision works greatly help the understanding of the process of vision. This unique book helps readers learn about color, luminescence, the What and Where systems, how problems with these systems affect vision, and more. Essential for academic libraries supporting art and neurobiology programs, this is also an excellent book for any library because it is so well written and illustrated. Margaret Henderson, Cold Spring Harbor Lab. Lib., NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810995543
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 350,201
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author


Margaret Livingstone is professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. She studies vision with a focus on how the eye and brain use color and luminance information, dyslexia and visual processing.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 8
Preface 10
Acknowledgments 11
1 Fiat Lux: Let There Be Light 12
2 The Eye and Color Vision 24
3 Luminance and Night Vision 36
4 The First Stages of Processing Color and Luminance: Where and What 46
5 Acuity and Spatial Resolution: Central and Peripheral Vision 68
6 The Next Level of Color Processing: Surround Effects 84
7 From 3-D to 2-D: Perspective 100
8 From 3-D to 2-D: Shading and Chiaroscuro 108
9 From 3-D to 2-D: Stereopsis 138
10 Illusions of Motion 152
11 Color Mixing and Color Resolution 164
12 Television, Movies, and Computer Graphics 188
Epilogue: Talent, Music, and Learning Disabilities 196
Further Reading 204
Index 205
Credits 208
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2005

    Vision and Art from a student point of view

    I recently read Vision and art : the biology of seeing / by Margaret Livingstone from my library in Ringling School of Art and Design and I thought it really taught me more about how to see as an artist than any teacher ever has. I fell in love with this book so much that I sort of became an endorsement for the product telling all my friends about it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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