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Matthew Rampley on John Onians, European Art: A Neuroarthistory

24 October 2016

Fish, volcanoes and the art of brains

Review of:

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

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