Matthew Rampley on John Onians, European Art: A Neuroarthistory
Fish, volcanoes and the art of brains
John Onians, European Art: A Neuroarthistory. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016. 320 pages. ISBN-10: 0300212798. ISBN-13: 978-0300212792. £40.50.
Matthew Rampley 15/MR3
Abstract: This is a review of John Onians’s study European Art: A Neuroarthistory. It argues that the project of neuroarthistory relies on fundamental methodological misconceptions and a simplistic understanding of neuroscience. As a result, it argues, neuroarthistory offers nothing more than ungrounded speculation and empty generalizations.
Key words: neuroscience, Onians, prehistoric art, Neolithic art, mirror neurons, Gilbert Ryle, Franz Kline, David Freedberg