The Getty Center
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Past Event

Oil Sketch for Medicine / Klimt
In Vienna during the second half of the 19th century, there was great interest in perceiving truths that could not be seen on the exterior of the human body. At the school of medicine at the University of Vienna, Carl Rokitansky helped initiate modern, scientific medicine by conducting thousands of autopsies, which led to an understanding of the biological basis of disease. Two graduates of the medical school, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud, introduced the "talking cure" and psychoanalysis as means to access the subconscious. These new ideas and discoveries quickly spread in the small social world of Vienna by way of interactions in coffeehouses and private salons, many of them hosted by Jewish women such as Berta Zuckerkandl. It was through these communities that Gustav Klimt learned about the latest scientific ideas, and, along with artists Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, he incorporated the insights into his portraiture.

Eric Kandel calls this period the "age of insight." His book of this title tells the extraordinary story of Vienna around 1900, but takes us further to demonstrate how the insights of the artists have inspired and informed modern studies of the mind. Perhaps no one is more equipped to link Viennese modernism to contemporary neuroscience. Kandel was born in Vienna in 1929, but fled the city at age 9 after the rise of the Nazis. In the United States, Kandel became one of the leading scientists of the 20th century. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in physiology in 2000 for his discoveries about memory storage, and he is still active as a University Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. In addition to The Age of Insight, he is author of In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind.

Complements the exhibitions
Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line and Messerschmidt and Modernity.

Learn more about our Getty Perspectives Series and see past events.

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