Conversation includes discussion of behavioral insights developed by Old Masters

For Immediate Release
September 13, 2016

Williamstown, Massachusetts—Neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde explores gaze, perception, and the brain’s powers of observation, with an emphasis on perceptual insights developed by Peter Paul Rubens and other Old Masters, during a talk at the Clark Art Institute on Friday, September 30 at 4 pm. She will be introduced by Betty Zimmerberg, Howard B. Schow '50 and Nan W. Schow Professor of Neuroscience at Williams College.

The talk will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion and is free with paid admission. Registration is required; to register, visit or call 413 458 0524.

Many years before scientists began studying neuronal properties, artists devised techniques to trick viewers’ brains into believing that flat canvases had depth and that sequences of brushstrokes represented the real world. Centuries later, as Martinez-Conde discusses, factors such as brightness, color, shading, and eye movements still powerfully affect what we see.

Martinez-Conde is an award-winning neuroscientist and professor of ophthalmology, neurology, psychology, and pharmacology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. She writes the “Illusions” column for Scientific American: MIND and authored the international bestselling book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions. Dr. Martinez-Conde received the Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience in 2014 and is among the premier science communicators in the United States.

The program is jointly hosted by the Clark, the Williams College Neuroscience Program, and the Williams College Psychology Department.

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
Press contact:
Clark Art Institute
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413 458 0471