The Recovery of Beauty – Prof John Onians Public Lecture 24 Oct – Beauty is in the Brain of the Beholder

As part of the IAS The Recovery of Beauty programme, CMH directors Jane Macnaughton and Corinne Saunders are very pleased to welcome Professor John Onians,  Emeritus Professor of World Art at the University of East Anglia, Norwich who will deliver the second lecture:

Professor John Onians

Beauty is in the Brain of the Beholder

Monday 24 October 2011, 6.15 p.m

Lecture Room 201, Elvet Riverside, University of Durham


We used to talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Now we know that this is true because the eye is under the control of the brain, and that is where beauty’s secrets lie.   These secrets are many.  One is beauty’s universality.  Why are there some phenomena that are considered beautiful in all cultures?  Another is beauty’s variety, both across cultures and across individuals.  Why do different cultures have different ideas of beauty, and why do different individuals too?  Why do tastes differ from period to period and place to place? All of these secrets are illuminated by fMRI scans and other techniques for exploring our neural make-up.  And, fortunately, this illumination only enhances beauty’s mystery.

We very much hope that you are able to join us for this and forthcoming events in The Recovery of Beauty Lecture Series.

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