Neuroarthistory: Several Notes on Historical Sources


  • Angelina Milosavljević



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


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 15, 2022; Original scholarly paper

Author Biography

Angelina Milosavljević

Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade

Angelina Milosavljević is an Associate Professor of History and Theory of Art at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade. She teaches early modern and modern art and theory. Her main research areas are early modern art and theory, and museum studies. Her most recent work focuses on the problem of understanding the formation of the 16th-century visual and cultural patterns and their bearings on 20th-century art and theory, as well as transdisciplinarity in early modern art and science. Prof. Milosavljević publishes and presents her works at international conferences. She is an active member of the international professional and academic associations RSA (Renaissance Society of America) and ICOM (International Council of Museums).


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How to Cite

Milosavljević, A. (2022). Neuroarthistory: Several Notes on Historical Sources. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (29), 81–90.