A Harmony of the Hemispheres

A talk presented on Sunday June 19th 2019 at Dr Iain McGilchrist’s Divided Brain retreat in the Cotswolds, United Kingdom.

It is this respect for context that underlies the sense in the Renaissance of the interconnectedness of knowledge and understanding, the uncovering patterns across different realms, ultimately implying the necessity of the broadest possible context for knowledge” Dr Iain McGlichrist

In this experiential talk Mary will reveal how the interconnectedness of knowledge and understanding, of intuition with skill are innately embodied in Renaissance art. Yet these wonder- filled images which blossomed out of 15th century Florence, are frequently rationalised and over intellectualised. Such a distanced approach is expressive of the deeper split in thought McGilchrist has highlighted throughout his work.

When given patience and space, engaged observation and reflection, the process of seeing these images unravels qualities in the viewer, opening eyes which look at and also through. Staying with an image long enough and absorbing its excellence, the eye becomes the window of the soul, both tangible and metaphorical. Through their brilliantly vivid appearance these art works re-engage the senses, they are visceral, felt in the changes in the body and breath, re-weaving the broken threads between body and mind, between matter and consciousness and in the threefold cognitive flow.

The oscillation between viewer and image becomes a dynamic motion of participation changing the art from static object to animate and alive. The illusion of three dimensional depth on a two dimensional surface is more than just the rebirth of pictorial space as Renaissance theory. It is a moment by moment experience which alters our vision from surface to depth, both of time and space and metaphysical depth, a renaissance of the image and us and altering perceptions beyond both.