Most people recognize that the purpurse of art is not to create a realistic replica of something but the exact opposite: It is to deliberatly distort, exaggerate - even transcend - realism in order to achieve certain pleasing (and somtimes disturbing) effects in the viewer. And the more effectively you do this, the bigger the aesthetic jolt.
So works of art are not photokopies; they involve deliberate hyperbole and distortion of reality, But you can´t just randomly distort an image and call it art. (...). The question is what types of distortion are effctive? Are there rules that the artist deploy, either consciously or unconsciously, to change the image in a systematic way? And if so, how universal are these rules?
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"...the artist is in a sense, a neuroscientist, exploring the potentials and capacities of the brain, though with different tools. How such creations can arouse aesthetic experiences can only be fully understood in neural terms. Such an understanding is now well within our reach."
Constancy: Despite the changes that occur when processing visual stimuli (distance, viewing angle, illumination, etc.), the brain has the unique ability to retain knowledge of constant and essential properties of an object and discard irrelevant dynamic properties. This applies not only to the ability to always see a banana as the color yellow but also the recognition of faces at varying angles. Much of this neural functioning has been attributed to the visual areas of the brain specifically the V1 cortex and specialized groups of cells which fire for a specific orientation stimulus.Comparatively, a work of art captures the essence of an object. The creation of art itself may be modeled off of this primitive neural function. The process of painting for example involves distilling an object down to represent it as it really is, which differs from the way the eyes see it. Zeki also tried to represent the Platonic Ideal and the Hegalian Concept through the statement: forms do not have an existence without a brain and the ability for stored memory, referring to how artists such as Monet could paint without knowing what the objects in order to capture their true form.
Abstraction: This process refers to the hierarchical coordination where a general representation can be applied to many particulars, allowing the brain to efficiently process visual stimuli. The ability to abstract may have evolved as a necessity due to the limitations of memory. In a way, art externalizes the functions of abstraction in the brain. The process of abstraction is unknown to cognitive neurobiology. However, Zeki proposes an interesting question of whether there is a significant difference in the pattern of brain activity when viewing abstract art as opposed to representational art.