People need proof. Especially in this day and age. It's not good enough to "feel" something is right or beneficial, you have to show it is. Art is one of those things that has always fallen in the "feel" category. Until recently.
People have wondered, "Why do we need Art?" and proof comes in handy, particularly in an economy that stretches resources. Semir Zeki, Professor of Neurobiology and Neuroaesthetics at University College London has researched brain activity of those viewing art.
"There have been very significant, new advances, in our understanding of what happens in our brain, when we look at works of art. We have recently found that when we look at things which we consider to be beautiful, the activity in the pleasure and reward centers of our brain goes up. There's a lot of dopamine, which is also known as the feel-good neurotransmitter, in these areas. So, essentially, basically, the feel-good centers, if you like, are being stimulated.
We have looked at the activity in different brain areas by putting people in a scanner and showing them pictures. When they experience beauty, there are areas of the brain which activity goes up significantly. It's also released, for example, in a state of love and desire, so that in a sense, it induces a feel-good factor."
The Independent, 9 May 2011, Video: Scientist: Art inspires feelings of love
To sum up -
• Beautiful artwork stimulates the pleasure-reward centers in our brains
• Dopamine, a feel-good transmitter, is being stimulated in our brains when
we see beautiful art
• Feelings of pleasure, love and desire are induced when we view art that we
So, there you have it. Proof if you needed it.
Surrounding yourself and family with images that you consider beautiful will enhance the happiness of those around you. Here are a few paintings that have given me great pleasure. What are some of yours?