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Artists' 'instinct' for how vision works charted by science

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DaVinci's enigmatic 'Mona Lisa' smile is a work of genius, as is the intense colours of a Monet. But both show an instinctive understanding of how the human eye works, one science is only starting to glean. Wonder why the Mona Lisa seems to smile more when you're in different parts of a room? Low spatial frequencies, of course, which means it's best seen by our peripheral vision. How about the amazing colours of a Monet, playing of the dichotomy of colour and luminance. It's all science to Professor Margaret Livingstone of the Harvard Medical School, but it's beauty in the eye of the human beholder.



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