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. In this new expanded edition Livingstone thoroughly updates this groundbreaking study with the latest findings gathered from her research, with 32 additional pages of new text and images, including 3 brand new chapters. 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 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. By skillfully bridging the space between science and art, 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.