Scientists claim that beautiful paintings can induce pure pleasure in the beholder.

This article titled “The ecstasy of art” was written by Jonathan Jones, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 10th May 2011 14.38 UTC

So that’s why I always feel so good after visiting London’s National Gallery. A scientific study claims to have shown that beautiful paintings produce the same brain activity we feel when we see someone we love: biologically, great art is pure joy. It’s nice to have scientific confirmation of something I already knew.

Recently I took a Slovenian journalist, who specialises in reporting from trouble spots such as Gaza and Sudan, to see some of my favourite paintings in the National Gallery. He commented on how moving it was to see all this beauty, all these noble peaks of human achievement, compared with the horrors and violence he spends a lot of time thinking about. He was in London on a flying visit – during which he also tried various drugs – but (and I want you to picture me as a clergyman here) you know, I think Titian’s Noli Me Tangere touched him more deeply than those horse tranquillizers.

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