Art and Soul
Source:Telegraph Date: 2011-05-12 Size:
Much to their delight, scientists report that they now know what delight looks like “in the flesh”, having traced a rush of blood to certain portions of the brain when the eye beholds a beautiful work of art.


'Grande Odalisque' (1814) by Ingres

 Much to their delight, scientists report that they now know what delight looks like “in the flesh”, having traced a rush of blood to certain portions of the brain when the eye beholds a beautiful work of art. The arts in this country are said to be suffering a range of ailments at present – anxiety, depression, even malnutrition – and if this intertwining of anatomy and aesthetics can lend extra muscle to their frame, it will surely be welcomed.

What science gropes towards understanding, however, has been grasped for centuries and for millennia by the imagination. The brain-scan shows that an Ingres odalisque elicits in the subject a similar response to the sight of a beloved face. But then the Greeks realised, more than two thousand years ago, that beauty and love were both the province of a single goddess, Aphrodite. Or as Coleridge said, two centuries ago: “All thoughts, all passions, all delights, / Whatever stirs this mortal frame, / All are but ministers of Love.”

[Editor] Lola Xu

    Artintern