The vision and interpretation of paintings: bottom-up visual processes, top-down culturally informed attention, and aesthetic experience.

This article aims to contribute to our knowledge about how we experience paintings and more specifically, about how visual exploration, cognitive categorization and emotive evaluation contribute to the aesthetic dimension. [Schaeffer 2015; Leder et al. 2004] of our experience of paintings. [Molnar 1981; Gombrich 1960; Bandaxall 1986; Bandaxall 1982; Bandaxall 1984] To this purpose, we use eye-tracking technology at Musée Unterlinden to record the vision of 52 participants looking at the Isenheim altarpiece before and after restoration. The first results before restoration allowed us to identify and classify the zones of visual salience as well as the effects of participants’ backgrounds and emotions on fixation time and visual attention to different areas of interest. This analysis will be further compared with data collected in a similar study after restoration.

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ETRA Abstract

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