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Impressionism, Ukiyo-e and Color Imaging: A fMRI Study of Color Related Visual Cortex: V4

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Color imaging is produced from Neo-Impressionism that is the pictures of George Seurat and Paul Signac 19th Century French painting.

These pictures are composed by many color dots, and modern color imaging is constructed of red, green and blue color pixels on a color display. This color imaging system is only one of some systems of the seeing world in our brain. We suggest that there are various seeing color systems from our retina to our brain.

Post Impressionists painted their pictures with various methods and experimented to represent the color world in the brain. Impressionism was greatly influenced by Japanese Ukiyo-e art and artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige. This is called Japonism, the influence of Japanese art on European art, especially impressionism.

Ukiyo-e is a kind of multicolored wood-block print of the Edo period (1603 - 1867). At first, there were just one color wood-block prints with brush-added color in the 1710s, then two or three color wood-block prints evolved in the 1740s, and finally in the 1760s the multicolor wood-block prints called “nishiki-e” were invented.

Ukiyo-e's style differs from European traditional arts and predates Impressionism. It involves drawing the outline of objects and one color painting. The print is composed of the multi-colored plane surfaces. The research of modern scientists has thrown new light on the subject of the difference of picture styles by seeing directly our brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging system.

We created some pictures inspired by the pictures of Post Impressionists and Ukiyo-e for functional magnetic resonance imaging to test multiple color-sensitive areas in human ventral occipitotemporal cortex. The results showed that area V4 is activated by the stimulus of reading shapes from its color but not by the stimulus of seeing a colour dot.

We suggest V4 is activated by figures composed of colour dots with geometric pattern, and V4 has low response to the camouflage figure in which colour dots do not include object shapes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Started in 2002 and merged with the Color and Imaging Conference (CIC) in 2014, CGIV covered a wide range of topics related to colour and visual information, including color science, computational color, color in computer graphics, color reproduction, volor vision/psychophysics, color image quality, color image processing, and multispectral color science. Drawing papers from researchers, scientists, and engineers worldwide, DGIV offered attendees a unique experience to share with colleagues in industry and academic, and on national and international standards committees. Held every year in Europe, DGIV papers were more academic in their focus and had high student participation rates.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual papers for details.

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