Joie de Vivre - How Art Affects the Brain

[caption id="attachment_344" align="alignleft" width="288" caption=""Between Light and Dark" by Carrie Fell."][/caption]

By Linda Perala-Hunt

When you are in a gloomy or depressed mood, a bright or uplifting piece of art can trigger energy and positive thinking as our brain and art connect with our humanism. Henri Matisse and several others called the experience joie de vivre, or joy of life, love of life, and the feeling of the dance.

Art , in all its forms, has been proven to affect the brain in many ways.

Our 21st Century culture is introducing the age of conception - the right brain. In the right hemisphere, we have the emotional, creative, innovative, and aesthetic components... the right brain is capable of thinking randomly, intuitively, holistically and subjectively along with the ability to synthesize and look at things as a whole.

[caption id="attachment_342" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption=""All Yours" by Sharon Abshagen."][/caption]

Many hospitals, religious shrines and museums have known for centuries that art does uplift your spirits and make you feel better.

In our early years, the human mind was strengthened by tribal art renderings of The Hunt on cave walls. These sacred artifacts held the memories of the hunting landscape, to help calculate and remember past hunts. These drawings and paintings assisted in the tribe learning patterns and neuron logistics. Art has assisted human survival and intelligence for eons.

[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignleft" width="270" caption=""Protective Fetish" by Star Liana York. Star is inspired by prehistoric cave paintings - notably the caves of Lascaux."][/caption]

Art and symbolism are another area where the mind is used to recall a specific symbol in relation to a group or activity. The most familiar to western culture is the art of Christianity, the secret fish drawing that allowed people to be shown into secret worship areas.

In modern society, the viewer is inundated with symbol and art to brain connections. With vast unrelated contents, it amazing we are able to understand or communicate. Ironically, art as a tool for connecting the mind with the labyrinth of social pressure and norms remains constant, reinforcing the complexity of the art to mind instructions.

[caption id="attachment_347" align="aligncenter" width="380" caption=""His Watching Spot" by Edward Aldrich."][/caption]

The psyche intuitively responds to art and music as indispensible tools for our brains to comprehend and remember patterns for learning skills. Neuroscience evidence shows, that when music plays and the lighting changes slightly, you feel compelled to view a painting longer -  not unlike the caves of our ancestors.

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