Vision and art: the biology of seeing

Front Cover
Harry N. Abrams, 2002 - Art - 208 pages
'In 'Vision and Art', Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone demonstrates that how we see art depends ultimately on the cells in our eyes and our brains. She begins by offering a comprehensive account of the biology of vision, drawing on the history of science and her own cutting-edge discoveries. She explains cogently 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 delves into the science underlying various phenomena in painting, using many examples - from the mysterious allure of the Mona Lisa to the amazing atmospheric effects of the impressionists - to illustrate her points. Along the way, she shows how similar effects can be used to enhance the impact of advertisements, and explores the different ways images look in paintings, in photographs, on TV, and on computer screens'. 'Accompanying Livingstone's lively and lucid prose are many easy-to-understand charts and diagrams that clarify her points. Some of these illustrations are based on simple and elegant experiments that show us how the human visual system translates light into color. Others demonstrate how cells in the retina code information and send it to the brain. Still others shed light on how great painters devise techniques to fool the eye into seeing depth and movement'. Vision and Art will 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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User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

I'd love to take a class on this subject, but it's not the 'how to look at a painting' book that I imagine must exist somewhere. ? And so I did not read every word of this and cannot honestly rate it ... Read full review

Vision and art: the biology of seeing

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review


The Eye and Color Vision
4 The First Stages of Processing Color

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About the author (2002)

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.