Wandering through the Smile of the Mind (Milan, Italy)

Milano, 3-18 luglio 2014

Milan, July 3-18, 2014

Mico Congress Center, Piazzale Carlo Magno, 1, Milan

FENS: Host Society Committee and History of European Neuroscience Committee

Biblioteca Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Raccolta delle Stampe “Achille Bertarelli”

Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense

Istituto Lombardo

Accademia Scienze e Lettere

The caricature, seen as a representation that arouses satirical or comic effects, carried out an important role in art history, also because of its cultural and scientific significance. It has been studied by neuro-scientists in order to understand the relationship existing between the mind and the comedian, that is, between an exaggerated expression of the body and the perception strengthening some mental capacities, like attention and memory. The caricature appeared during Humanism and was spread over by Italian artists. With the creation of printing, grotesque design, including its messages and scientific ones, became popular: as time passed, a privileged relationship between “caricature and mind” was established. The cultural itinerary proposed is an occasion to expose “artistic treasures” preserved by important city institutions. The itinerary will start at Pinacoteca Ambrosiana with the exposition of some examples of “Leonardesca” school. Materials will be exhibited in Sala Federiciana. In Castello Sforzesco will be shown some examples of prints from 17th and 18th century from Achille Bertarelli’s collection. It documents the birth of a new kind of art and its progressive spread among the public, as well as the original legacy with the treaties on physiognomy. The third itinerary hosted by Biblioteca Braidense, at Palazzo di Brera will show the 18th century scientific approach. Thanks to materials from the Haller Fund, the Franz Joseph Gall phrenological researches will be introduced, which are meant to localize which area of the mind are accountable for such functions. The 19th century material exposed at the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere, illustrates the origin of modern neuroscience. They were known as grotesque graphics: a selection of satirical European texts between 19th and 20th century – from the APICE Center of the University of Milan - will terminate the itinerary by recalling some of the themes, such as the representation of feelings through facial deformation and the association between human and animal features.

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