Examining Semir Zeki's 'Neural Concept Formation and Art: Dante, Michelangelo, Wagner'

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In his paper, 'Neural Concept Formation and Art: Dante, Michelangelo, Wagner' Semir Zeki writes 'we can trace the origins of art to a fundamental characteristic of the brain, namely its capacity to form concepts' (Zeki, 2002, p. 53). He proposes that 'this capacity is itself the by-product of an essential characteristic of the brain. That characteristic is abstraction, and is imposed upon the brain by one of its chief functions, namely the acquisition of knowledge.' (ibid., p. 53). Then, centring his argument around 'the ideal of love', he claims that Dante, Michelangelo and Wagner 'had created in their brains', he further asserts that 'none of the three found that ideal in real life, and each was impelled in a different way to create works of art in response to that gap' (ibid., pp. 53-4).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Amy Ione, PO Box 12748, Berkeley, CA 94712-3748, USA ., Email: ione@diatrope.com

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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