David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

27 January 2012

Authenticity when viewing art...

We do miss listening to The Book Show (ABC Radio National) with Ramona Koval and her knowledgeable team. What a loss! (Here's the link to Don Watson's comments about this at The Monthly.)

In place of The Book Show is an arts mix, Books and Arts Daily.

One of yesterday's items was right up our street :

Imagine this. There's a picture you love. Suppose it's a Picasso. Or a Sidney Nolan. You just love it. Then one day an expert tells you that it's a copy. Or a fake. How do you react? What happens inside the wiring of your brain?

Martin Kemp is professor emeritus in Art History from Oxford University and a leading expert on the Italian Renaissance, particularly the work of Leonardo do Vinci. Telling authentic works from copies is his bread and butter. Now he's got together with a couple of neuro scientists to explore this fascinating question about how our brains respond to fakes and the genuine article.

Click here for that program
The article discussed, as listed at Radio National :
Title Authenticity when viewing art
Author Martin J Kemp et al
Publisher Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 28 November, 2011
The blue link above will take you to the abstract. From there you can link to the original research article. It's full poetic title is :

Human cortical activity evoked by the assignment of authenticity when viewing works of art

Mengfei Huang1†, Holly Bridge2†,
Martin J. Kemp3 and Andrew J. Parker1*

1 Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
2 Department of Clinical Neurology, FMRIB Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
3 Trinity College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Mengfei Huang and Holly Bridge Joint first authors.
"The expertise of others is a major social influence on our everyday decisions and actions. Many viewers of art, whether expert or na├»ve, are convinced that the full esthetic appreciation of an artwork depends upon the assurance that the work is genuine rather than fake. Rembrandt portraits provide an interesting image set for testing this idea, as there is a large number of them and recent scholarship has determined that quite a few fakes and copies exist. Use of this image set allowed us to separate the brain’s response to images of genuine and fake pictures from the brain’s response to external advice about the authenticity of the paintings....

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bLOGOS/HA HA wonders if the core of the reality-instability problem might lie in the persistence of our self-cherishing integrity delusion; in our general refusal to wholly appreciate and practise a view that is not based on a notion of fixity and singularity.

1986_Peter Tyndall_field of viewers_brain_<span class=

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...