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Book and Media Reviews
November 26, 2008

Neuroarthistory: From Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki

JAMA. 2008;300(20):2433-2434. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.704

The time has been, that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act III, scene iv

In the new discipline of neuroarthistory, its originator, John Onians, wants to argue that a neurological understanding of the great artists of the past can go some way to restoring the brain and its conscious self, the mind, to current inquiry. Neuroarthistory is the first in Onians' projected trilogy of books. This introductory volume, which takes a range of thinkers—philosophers, social theorists, scientists, art historians—as “neural subjects,” will be followed by a neuroarthistorical approach to European art and then world art.