From Rodin to Reward Pathways: The Science of Art

The first time I saw Rodin’s The Thinker I was nine, at the Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. It was a small, unassuming bronze cast in a room of eye-catching paintings, but there was something powerful about it. A sense that as we gallery visitors contemplated the thinker, he contemplated something beyond us. I’ve forgotten a lot of things about that trip, but I remember The Thinker, especially the way it pulled its viewers in and stopped them.

I say the first time, because I saw a much larger cast of The Thinker ten years later in Paris. It’s a powerful feeling to come back to the same sculpture ten years later — like coming back to your hometown after years of absence and change. For me, there’s something about the work of certain familiar artists that’s like coming across an old friend, or a childhood memento. When I think of my favorite paintings, it’s not just that they’re aesthetically beautiful, or artistically appealing — they’re linked to a series of past experiences and a dense network of memories. I’m sure we all have artists whose work makes us feel this way. Standing in the garden of the Musée Rodin, —> Read More Here


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