Kandel goes on to explain the biological underpinnings and physiological systems involved in vision, learning and memory and how these systems impact our perception of a work of art. In detail, he explains how some systems work differently when a person views a representational work of art versus an abstract work.
Recognizing the varied nature of human perception, dependent as it is on experience and memory has practical significance for the docent/guide. The author breaks down the process in very understandable terms.
While the title is daunting and some of the technical illustrations can require study, the book is overall very readable and, at times, humorous. Kandel even dissects the phenomenon of the blue/gold dress!
The art reproductions are wonderful and underscore the author's concepts in a very enjoyable way.
About the Author
Eric Kandel is a professor in the Departments of Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science and codirector of the Mortimer B, Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000.
Reviewed by Renee Reese, Docent, The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC