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Pierre Bonnard at the Tate: the surprising reasons we love art

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http://theconversation.com/pierre-bonnard-at-the-tate-the-surprising-reasons-we-love-art-110828

theconversation.com

Pierre Bonnard at the Tate: the surprising reasons we love art
"Why do people love Pierre Bonnard so much?" asks The Guardian's art critic Adrian Searle in his review of the painter's current show at London's Tate Modern. There are obvious reasons: his rich colour, his warm light, his human intimacy.

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Why we like art

Art is most exciting when it creates states of psychological conflict, confusion, or dissonance.

While in other circumstances, such an onslaught might make us run a mile, with art, we ...

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Visual indeterminacy

It occurs when we are presented with something that we don't immediately recognize. It creates a degree of cognitive dissonance that may be frustrating or even unpleasant.

F...

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Color conflicts

Complementary colors lie opposite one another on the spectrum. For example, red complements blue, yellow complements violet.

When complementary colors are placed in close proximity, it is apt...

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Equiluminance

When we convert a painting to monochrome, the level of light coming from each area is equal.

This confuses the parts of the brain that process color and luminance, and throw our sense...

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A logical impossibility

In representational art, figurative paintings contain a logical impossibility - we see one thing (the painting), which is, at the same time, another thing (what it depicts).

The tensi...

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Defining Art

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Defining Art Through History

  • From the 11th century until the end of the 17th century, the definition of art was anything that was done with expertise, with the result of knowledge and practice.
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Philosophy of Art

  • Art as Representation or Mimesis. Representation of art as an imitation or copying became the mainstream meaning of art in Greece. Plato first developed the idea of art as “mimesis,” which, in Greek, means copying or imitation. How immaculately it replicated the original subject became the measure of its value.
  • Art as Expression of Emotional content. Dramatic, sublime and heartfelt art becomes a way to express oneself during the Romantic movement , with audience response becoming key to the valuation of the content. The emotions that were felt when the art was witnessed became its barometer for success.
  • Art as Form. Formal qualities of art became influential in the 18th century, with the principles of art and design, like balance, rhythm, harmony and unity became as important as the content of the work of art.

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Describing wonder

Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.

Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wond...

Bodily symptoms

The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand them. It leads to a suspension of breath, similar to when we are startled.
  • Spiritual: We look upwards in veneration, which makes our heart swell.

The scale of wonder

At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.

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Loneliness is a perception issue

Loneliness is a perception issue

Loneliness has more to do with our perceptions than how much company we have: it is just as possible to feel very lonely surrounded by people as it is to be content with little social contact.

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“Loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed but simply that one is alive.”

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One way people have always dealt with loneliness is through creativity. By metamorphosing their reality into art, lonely people throughout history have managed to interchange the sense of community relationships could foster with their creative outputs.

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