Scientific Aesthetics?

28 Jan

How do we explain why a piece of art is appealing to our senses?

An art historian might resort to aesthetic theory for an explanation.  Scientists might resort to the study of our brain waves.

The Walters Museum in Baltimore has a new exhibit where neuroscientists at John Hopkins are doing just that; Touch + The Enjoyment of Sculpture: Exploring the Appeal of Renaissance Statuettes, allows visitors to touch replicas of Renaissance statuettes. Researchers are studying the reactions to tactile stimulus to explore how our sense of touch affects how we may perceive sculpture.

The exhibition sounds like it’s worth the adventure to Baltimore.

On the flipside:: if we can find a way to explain aesthetics with science—-do we still need Kant, Schiller, Rancieré, etc.?

My short answer is yes.

Touch + The Enjoyment of Sculpture

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