Venus in Chairs. Re-reading Art History through Evolutionary Psychology.

Přednáší: Mark Haywood
The emergent field of evolutionary psychology has offered new perspectives to many far older disciplines, but Dr Haywood is one of the few researchers to have applied its methodologies to art history. Analysis of artworks from earlier times can counter arguments that evolutionary psychologists’ findings only indicate recent preferences with wholly cultural, not genetically relayed origins.

The lecture will draw aspects of a book currently in preparation for US publishers, Ashgate which is a radical new history of beauty in art that spans five millennia. It will be argued that artists (who possess higher than average visual sensitivity) intuitively imbued representations of certain female subjects associated with fertility with morphological details recently linked to indicators of high fertility. The presentation will consider new ways of understanding the ‘ideal’ body canons of Classical art, as well as applications of computer morphing and ‘averaging’ to the faces of Renaissance Madonnas. It will conclude with the ‘passage of beauty’ from art to artefact in mid-twentieth century biomorphic design.


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