Neuroarthistory: Several Notes on Historical Sources

Angelina Milosavljević


In his proposal for a new methodological approach to the history of art, neuroarthistory, art historian John Onians based his argument in philosophy and art theory ranging from Aristotle to Leonardo, and from Reynolds to Zeki, and neuroaesthetics. However, he omitted from his overview the late Renaissance and Baroque traditions in which one can easily find writings on human cognitive ability (on intellect, senses, and imagination) and its bearings on art. In this preliminary note, we point to several 16th-century humanists, such as Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, Baldassare Castiglione, Benedetto Varchi, and artist and theorist Federico Zuccari, in whose treatments of human cognitive ability we find the application of Aristotelian tradition. Their writings further illuminate the rich and exciting insights into the nature, workings, and results of human cognition.


Article received: May 21, 2022; Article accepted: July 15, 2022; Published online: October 31, 2022; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Milosavljević, Angelina: "Neuroarthistory: Several Notes on Historical Sources." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 29 (October 2022): 81-90. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i29.539


neuroarthistory; John Onians; 16th-century cognitive theory; Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola; Baldassare Castiglione; Benedetto Varchi; Federico Zuccari.

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