What happens in your brain when you look at Viennese Expressionist artist Gustav Klimt’s famous 1901 painting “Judith”?
A lot more than you might guess, according to neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel, MD. In his book, “The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present,” Kandel speculates on the exact neurochemical cognitive circuitry being activated inside the viewer’s brain while studying Klimt’s painting. The book also is a fascinating look into fin de siècle Vienna, when artists were influenced by new theories of the unconscious from the likes of Sigmund Freud and William James.
At Columbia University since 1974, Kandel currently holds the titles of University Professor, Fred Kavli Professor and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Sciences. He also is a senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the Columbia faculty as founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.
A graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Medicine, Kandel trained in neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health and in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Kandel will discuss “The Age of Insight” in his talk for the Washington University in St. Louis Assembly Series, which also is the annual Arthur Holly Compton Lecture, at 5 p.m. Monday, March 3, in Graham Chapel. It is free and open to the public.
He is the author of a number of academic and popular books, including “In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind,” which was made into a documentary film.
At the top of his long list of professional awards and honors is the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, awarded in 2000 for his part in discovering a revolutionary approach to studying how memory forms.
For information and updates on Assembly Series programs, visit assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call 314-935-4620.
- Eric R. Kandel biography
- A Conversation with Eric Kandel (Columbia University)
- ‘Eric Kandel Visions’ (The Chronicle of Higher Education)