Cover image for Inner vision : an exploration of art and the brain
Inner vision : an exploration of art and the brain
Zeki, Semir.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N71 .Z45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The work of the artist and the science of vision may seem distantly related as subjects. However, When Leonardo da Vinci wrote that, of all the colours, the most pleasing are the ones which constitute opponents, he was uttering a physical truth about the visual brain. Inner Vision is thefirst attempt to relate the science of vision to art. Using a range of examples from artists including Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Magritte, Malevich, and Picasso, Semir Zeki takes the reader on an aesthetic tour of the brain. He describes in compelling detail how different areas of thebrain respond to elements of the visual arts such as colour, form, line, and motion, and argues that our experience of art relates strongly to the neuroanatomy of the visual cortex. Combining beautiful illustrations, rich insights, and entertaining prose, Inner Vision will be enthralling forscientists and artists alike. "Dr Zeki is one of the three founders of modern visual science. He has undertaken an ambitious project and has in my opinion succeeded admirably. The book is very readable and full of fascinating insights. It will appeal to a very wide audience including artists,neurologists, psychologists, and philosophers." V Ramachandran, University of California

Author Notes

Professor S Zeki is an eminent neurologist and the author of A Vision of the Brain, which has sold nearly 20,000 copies for Blackwell Science. He has combined his expert knowledge of the visual brain with an impressive study of art for this book.

Table of Contents

Part I A function of the brain and of art
1 The brain's quest for essentials
2 Art's quest for essentials
3 The myth of the "seeing eye"
4 A neurobiological appraisal of Vermeer and Michaelangelo
5 The neurology of the Platonic Ideal
6 The Cubist search for essentials
7 The modularity of vision
8 Seeing and understanding
9 The modularity of visual aesthetics
10 The pathology of the Platonic Ideal and the Hegelian concept
Part II The art of the receptive field
11 The receptive field
12 Mondrian, Malevich, and the neurophysiology of oriented lines
13 Mondrian, Ben Nichoson, Malevich, and the neurophysiology of squares and rectangles
14 Perceptual problems created by the receptive fields
15 The neurophysiology of the Metamalevich and the Metakandinsky
16 Kinetic art
Part III A neurological examination of some art forms
17 Face imperception or a portrait of prosopagnosia
18 The physiology of colour vision
19 The fauvist brain
20 The neurology of abstract and representational art
21 Monet's brain