‘Paintings can be heard, not just seen’

Kandinsky, Composition

Reuters reports:

Paintings can be heard as well as seen, study shows

By Patricia Reaney | September 4, 2006

NORWICH – Artists such as Wassily Kandinsky appeal to more than just the visual sense because their work can also be heard — at least by some people, a British neuroscientist said on Monday.

Synesthetes are individuals in whom one sense triggers another.

Their senses are connected, so as well as seeing a painting such as “Composition VIII, 1923” by the Russian painter, the work also triggers sounds.

“What Kandinsky wanted to do was for it to appeal to hearing as well,” Dr Jamie Ward, a neuroscientist at University College London (UCL), told a British science conference.

Whether or not Kandinsky was a synesthete is not known but Ward said the artist certainly knew about the sensory phenomenon.

Synesthetes make up only about one to two percent of the population but Ward believes everyone links music and art unconsciously.

See also here.

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