Don’t expect the billowing nudes of Colombian artist Fernando Botero to relieve your physical pain, say scientists.
More precisely, if you happen to have a laser focused on your hands with the intensity of a poke from a blunt needle, looking at a Botero canvas won’t relieve the discomfort. Nor will a Picasso. Best to turn to a Botticelli, Van Gogh or Degas, according to a new report in British magazine New Scientist.
The study, led by Marina de Tommaso of the Neurophysiology Pain Unit at Italy’s Bari University, measured electrical activity in the brain while 12 subjects – all professors or students at the school – simultaneously viewed various famous canvases and had their hands buzzed by a lazer, reported Canal Caracol.
Tommaso apparently believes that her study could help in the design of hospitals where, it is true, people are poked with needles on a daily basis.
“Hospitals have been designed to be functional,” she wisely observed, “but should also take into account aesthetic aspects. Beauty evidently offers a distraction that ugly works do not offer. I believe that these results indicate that how a beautiful environment alleviates suffering must continue to be investigated.”