Franz Joseph Gall on greatness in the fine arts: A collaboration of multiple cortical faculties of mind
SourceCortex, 71, (2015), pp. 102-115
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectBiological psychology; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Biologische psychologie
Although Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) is well known for his organology, i.e., his theory of cortical localization of function largely derived from skull features, little has been written about his ideas pertaining to specific faculties other than speech, and even less attention has been drawn to how the individual faculties might work together in specific situations. Our focus shall be on how Franz Joseph Gall viewed the fine arts, with special emphasis on what one must possess to be outstanding in this field, which he associated with perceiving and understanding relationships, and several higher faculties of mind, including color, "constructiveness," locality, and recognizing people. How these faculties are utilized, he tells us, will vary with whether an artist does portraits, landscapes, historical scenes, still life compositions, etc., as well as with the selected medium (e.g., oil paints, sketching on paper, stones to be carved). To put Gall's thoughts about the fine arts in context, brief mention will be made of his scientific career, his guiding philosophy, the questions he most wanted to answer, what he construed as "evidence," how he eliminated the soul or "controller" from his system, and how he presented his work to the public. Some comparisons will be made to what he wrote about having a talent for music.
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