Cognitive Realism: Painting for the Brain

Omslag Boek Schilderen voor het brein

The new book 'Schilderen voor het brein' (painting for the brain) is published. We are working on an English version.


Ever since the training in realistic drawing and painting was abandoned in artschools about 40 years ago a tradition of reflection on realistic painting and its techniques, that had its roots in the Renaissance, has almost come to a stand still. Over the years I have spent a large part of my time trying to understand the relation between representation and reality. As a painter I have done hundreds of experiments investigating the way our brains process visual information. I have discovered many things, some ancient but forgotten, others completely new and based on recent insights in mathematics, neuroscience, biology or compluter science. The two basic rules of Cognitive realism are:

  1. A painting is a program for the visual machine in our brain.
  2. Our visual system compresses and expands information, therefore the painter can leave information out.

Our brain is a semantic machine that constantly looks for new meanings in images. It is the task of the painter to explore this semantic visual space. In this sense, painting is still at its infancy.